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Tuesday, 1 October 1974
Page: 1488

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Will the Minister representing the Acting Prime Minister inform the Senate why the Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Overseas Trade now appeals for greater productivity and forecasts a reduction in the short term interest rate when these matters were ignored in the Budget? Does the Acting Prime Minister contend that increased productivity and lower interest rates are necessary if inflation is to be checked and full employment restored? If so, is this an admission that the Budget largely ignored inflation and unemployment or does he foreshadow one or more miniBudgets in the next 12 months?

Senator MURPHY - It has been a continuing concern of this Government that there be increased productivity. I think it is fair to say that Prime Ministers of earlier governments expressed the same view. I recall that when Mr Gorton was Prime Minister he complained about the great lack of education for management in Australia. Our Government in the previous Budget made provision in a number of respects for encouraging activities which would increase productivity. Indeed, a great deal of money has been spent on research and a great deal has been done, I know from my own experience, in the areas administered by the Minister for Customs and Excise and the Attorney-General. A great deal of attention has been paid to the problem of increasing productivity and in some cases very significant results have followed.

Of course the Acting Prime Minister was right in calling for increased productivity and I hope that the Leader of the Country Party in the Senate will respond to that call. At all times there needs to be improvement in efficiency. I believe that the call of the Acting Prime Minister and his indication that there would be lower interest rates would be welcomed by everybody. I was reminded the other night that during the last election campaign Mr Snedden said that interest rates would have to go up, before they would come down, even if his Party were elected to office.

Senator Rae -He did not say that they would have to go up.

Senator MURPHY -Senator Rae will remember that he said that they would have to go up before they came down.

It has been the intention and it is the philosophy of the Labor Government to have interest rates which are compatible with the proper desire of people to be able to obtain homes and to engage in other activities. The Government is bending every endeavour to obtain that result and it is pleasing that the Acting Prime Minister is able to give a firm indication that if the Jeremiahs opposite cease to whinge and begin to help us we will get this country running so that everybody will be able to take advantage of the prosperity which the Labor Government is introducing.

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