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Thursday, 27 April 1961

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I ask the House to come to order. The Treasurer has leave to make a statement. At any time interjections are out of order but more particularly so under circumstances such as these.

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I repeat that these drawings have not been made because of any current anxiety on the part of the Government. Indeed, as I have already shown, our overseas reserves are standing at a higher figure now than they were at the end of the December quarter and the information available to the Government suggests that the level of imports will fall during the months ahead. We are confident that our policies will continue to restore a state of balance in our international dealings. However, the normal seasonal trend of onoverseas business will produce extra calls on our reserves during the slacker ps"-t ~r the export season and we think it only prudent to put quite beyond doubt the strength and liquidity of our overseas resources in the period ahead.

At the end of March last our total holdin as of fold and foreign exchange stood at £A388,000,000. These will now be aug mented by the drawing of £A78,125,000 and can at will be further augmented over the next six months by drawing on the stand-by credit of £A45,000,000. Beyond that again we have untouched drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund under which we could apply for further credits to the extent of approximately £A88,000\000.

I add by way of information for honorable gentlemen that in order that the Parliament and the public could have a clearer picture of the movements of our total reserves periodically, the Treasury some time ago raised with the Reserve Bank of Australia the question of publishing monthly the total of those reserves - the weekly figures are the reserves of the Reserve Bank itself. The Reserve Bank Board has decided that in future it will publish monthly figures of our total reserves. That information will add usefully to our understanding of trends as they are occurring in the reserves position.

Mr Crean - T move -

That the statement be printed.

I ask for leave to continue my remarks later.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member is not in order in moving that the statement be printed.

Mr Harold Holt - I understood that the honorable member moved for the printing of the statement and sought leave to continue his remarks later.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member was not in order in seeking to do that. A motion of that kind may come only from the Treasurer in these circumstances.

Mr Harold Holt - That has not been the practice in the past. There is ample precedent for a motion that a paper be printed being proposed by a member of the Opposition.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The position is quite clear. If a statement is made to the House the only person entitled to move that the paper be printed is the person who has made the statement. If somebody else wishes to propose that motion, it is necessary for him to obtain leave to do so.

Mr E James Harrison - I ask for leave to propose a motion.

Mr Calwell - No, make the Treasurer propose it.

Mr SPEAKER - Order!

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