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Wednesday, 27 May 1987
Page: 3460

(Question No. 5049)

Mr Langmore asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 17 February 1987:

(1) What measures were agreed to at the International Monetary Fund conference in September to support Mexico.

(2) Is he able to say what the voting was on these measures and which countries voted in the affirmative.

(3) Why did Australia abstain from voting on the measures.

Mr Keating —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) No specific measures to support Mexico were agreed to at the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development held in Washington DC from 1 to 3 October 1986. The Communique from the meeting on 29 September 1986 of the Interim Committee of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund, however, noted that:

`Committee members welcomed the proposed package for Mexico as an example of the strengthened debt strategy and hoped that the package can be finalised promptly'.

The package was finalised on 19 November 1986, when the International Monetary Fund approved a stand-by arrangement for the Government of Mexico. Details of the stand-by arrangement and accompanying economic program are contained in IMF Press Release No. 86/43 of 19 November 1986, a copy of which has been provided to the honourable member.

(2) Discussions and voting within the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund are confidential. Accordingly, it would not be appropriate to comment on the voting of Executive Directors representing other countries.

(3) As a general rule, I consider it inappropriate to comment on the position taken by the Executive Director representing Australia at the IMF (who also represents the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Western Samoa, the Solomon Islands, the Seychelles and Kiribati). However, in view of the imputation contained in the honourable member's question, I believe some comment is warranted on this occasion. On 19 November 1986, when the final package came before the Executive Board, the Executive Director for the constituency of which Australia is a member, expressed support for the package that was announced later that day.