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Thursday, 14 November 1974
Page: 2370

Senator GREENWOOD - My question is directed to Senator Murphy in his capacity as Leader of the Government in this place. I refer to the Prime Minister's statement on the economy of Tuesday night and to the assumptions contained in that statement that the Prices Justification Tribunal and the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission decisions are of fundamental importance to the Government's program. In the light of the Government's reliance upon favourable decisions coming from these bodies will he state whether these bodies are still independent or are amenable to Government direction?

Senator MURPHY -The Deputy Leader of the Opposition ought to know, if he does not know, that the calibre of the men who have been appointed to each of those bodies is such that they would not be amenable to any improper Government pressure or improper pressure from any quarter.

Senator Withers - Any sort of pressure at all.

Senator MURPHY -The Leader of the Opposition interjects: 'any sort of pressure at all'whether proper or not. I suppose it is playing with words but if one says that any public body- no doubt any court or tribunal responds to the proper applications -

Senator Withers - Of arguments -

Senator MURPHY - Well, argument or persuasion. It is very difficult -

Senator Withers - Not pressure.

Senator MURPHY - It is very difficult if we are going to say that they should not respond even to proper pressure. If there is anything wrong with the pressure then it is not proper. This is getting into a foolish hair splitting of words. The substance of the question asked by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is a suggestion, which I think is improper, against those who compose the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the Prices Justification Tribunal. The fact is that these men have been appointed to carry out their duties and they will carry them out. I think that everyone, with the exception of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, would have confidence in the ability and integrity of these men.

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