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Tuesday, 12 November 1974
Page: 2213

Senator SHEIL (QUEENSLAND) - My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I refer to the Government's adoption of Opposition policy in the economic measures announced on Sunday and to the taxation cuts to be announced by the Prime Minister tonight. I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether the Budget, not yet 2 months old, failed to arrest Australia's economic decline? Do the new measures amount to a repudiation of the Government's economic strategy?

Senator MURPHY - It is clear that this Government has indicated that it will from time to time take the measures which are necessary for the welfare of the community. One of the things that has been made clear, I think, by members of the Government for a number of years is that there ought not to be such an emphasis upon the document called the 'Budget' and that it ought not to be treated as if it were a magic document or some kind of holy writ. It is clear that in many areas there ought to be planning which extends over a number of years. It is the height of foolishness to endeavour to conduct programs on an annual basis. We already have the triennia which is operated in the educational field. Some of the programs are moveable and so plans can be made ahead for 3 years. Other countries have implemented 5, 7, and 10-year plans. What we are endeavouring to do in Australia is to plan ahead and to adapt those plans in accordance with the exigencies of the moment. This Government and any other government will continue to do that. It is time, as the Treasurer has stressed that we got away from this notion of the sacredness of the Budget and the notion that it is some magic kind of document. Instead we should look at measures which the Government would be wise to take at the moment. Whether it be taxation cuts, reduction of interest rates or whatever measures are deemed by the Government to be in the interests of the people, those measures will be introduced at a time which seems most appropriate for the welfare of the community.

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