In the lead-up to the 1974 Federal Budget, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam made a nationally televised Address to the Nation.
Whitlam explained that the Budget was one month later than normal, due to the May election and the subsequent Joint Sitting of the Parliament.
He was anxious to allay concerns about inflation, which had risen to double digit figures. He claimed that that the war on demand inflation was being won and that the government would “proceed soberly but steadily with the programs which you have twice endorsed”, including childcare.
Whitlam said: “In the fight against inflation, we shall not be using the weapon of mass unemployment in the way that previous governments have sometimes chosen to do.”
He warned against large wage and salary increases: “Quite bluntly, the Australian economy in 1974 just cannot absorb wage and salary increases of 20 per cent and 30 per cent without large increases in prices.”
Whitlam reiterated that “the most help will be given to those most in need”, whilst restraint would be sought “from the strongest, from those best able to share the load”.
- Listen to Whitlam’s broadcast (11m)