Communists gone but inflation remains

In a news item in The Courier (1974), in a report on a speech by the then federal country party leader Doug Anthony in Ballarat, Mr Anthony is quoted as saying "The communist understands that a nation whose economy is undermined by inflation, and a nation in which the fabric of society is damaged by inflation and by industrial strife inflation brings, and by the lowering of standards and values, is a nation on the way to domination by others".

Strong words Mr Anthony - but you were in opposition at the time, weren't you? (It is interesting how truths emanate from the mouths of politicians when they are in opposition).

Mr Anthony's words did not translate into action because, following the Liberals' election victory in 1975, inflation continued, and has done so to the present day.

Indeed, there is only one period since federation when inflation has been constructively dealt with, and that was the period from 1943 to 1946 inclusive, when, during the period of the Labor government led by John Curtin, some of the money (in the form of financial credit) which was created and issued by the Commonwealth Bank, was used to reduce prices at the retail level, beginning with items used to compute the consumer price index.

This action eliminated inflation - it brought the CPI down by one point. Former Prime Minister Fraser commented that this system (consumer price discounts) "had merit".

During the period of the Fraser government, no indication was apparent, as far as giving this previously successful policy a try was concerned.




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