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Wednesday, 16 February 1977

Mr LYNCH - It is an irony for the former Prime Minister, as the most deceitful in this House in relation to the provision of information, to come forward seeking more information than the Government has made available. I remind the honourable gentleman of his most discreditable, disgraceful record in relation to the great loans scandal, the full story of which, as he is very much aware, has yet to be told. As I announced in my statement of 1 6 December -

Mr Morris - Tell us about the Licardy phone calls.

Mr LYNCH - The honourable member could not raffle a duck at a union picnic and he would be wise to remember that. As I announced, an amount of $250m in savings has been identified by the Government. I said at the time that those savings were being achieved mainly by deferring expenditures and taking steps to ensure that expected shortfalls in expenditure were not taken up and utilised for other purposes. In response to the honourable gentleman I point out that those savings arise from the special expenditure exercise following devaluation and they form part of the Government's continuing revision of the Estimates process. I am informed that, consistent with past practice and quite contrary to what the honourable gentleman infers, the results of revisions of estimates are not being released. As honourable gentlemen are aware, the spending of Commonwealth departments is set out quite clearly as a matter of record in the normal monthly transaction statement. Beyond that, the outcome of the Government's expenditure policies for the year as a whole is set out in detail in the Budget Papers.

I reject any suggestion whatsoever that the Government is seeking to cover up decisions on expenditure policy. My information from the Department of Finance, as I recall it, is that what has been done is in accordance with past practice. I shall check the point with that Department after question time. As a final point, I emphasise to the House that in all cases where spending has been deferred it has been done without creating disruption or causing hardship.

Mr E G WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I did not want to interrupt the flow of the honourable gentleman's eloquence, but I take the point that he should withdraw the opprobrious terms he applied to me. I refer to terms such as 'deceitful'. I particularly ask for a withdrawal because the Treasurer said that the facts have not come out. He has made 2 affidavits which have prevented them from coming out, and he is part of the Government which has refused to take over this phony prosecution.

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