PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 6023


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/02/1983

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 6023

Mr Hawke often tells us of his great expertise in
industrial relations. one would have thought he would
know his facts. Given the importance he gives to a
" prices and incomes policy", one would have expected
him to do at least a little homework.
Mr Hawke recently said in a national television broadcast that
there was never a prices and incomes policy in Britain.
But the facts demostrate that there was.
Mrs Shirley Williams who ran the policy in Britain during
the seventies has said that " in practice it ( was) quite
a strict policy". She demonstrated clearly that Mr Hawke
was plainly and simply wrong.
Mrs Williams also made it cl~ ear that the British prices
and incomes policy was only maintained by pretty
draconian powers and penalities powers that are not
available to an Australian government.. It caused
companies to cut back on investment and damage their
longterm interests with an inevitable destruction of jobs
and job opportunities.
But Mr Hawke still won't accept the facts. He's still
twisting and turning with word games and excuses. He says
III put it that there wa-s not a situation where there was
in place policies in regard to all the elements of prices,
dividends, rents and interest and I adhere to that
as does every conunentator who has examined the s; ituation
there. There were elements of a prices and incomes policy
but part. of the problem was that the parts did not make
' a whole".
Mr Hawke still can't get it right. Don't take my word for
it, take the word of Mrs Williams who says quite plainly
" in practice it is quite a strict policy. The incomes
policy side was voluntary but it was very much kept. On
the prices side direct control of the retail mark-ups,
the amount that the retail tradp could add on to any sale,
and there was also a prices code for the private company.
And companies had to get approval from thc. overnmenrt before
they could increase their prices beyond a certain amouint."

A noted British commentator and economist, Samuel Brittain,
summned it all up yesterday on Australian radio when he
was asked what advice he would give to any Australian
government contemplating such policies. He tersely said
" forget it".
We can't afford to take a risk with somebody who is as
sloppy with his homework as Mr Hawke evidently is.
Australia needs substance, reality. This is just another
area where Mr Hawke's alleged credentidls, in the words of
the Financial Review, " Won't stand close scrutiny"'.

Transcript 6023