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Thursday, 20 May 1920

Mr McWILLIAMS (Franklin) (3:26 AM) . - At this early hour of the morning it is hardly reasonable to expect from the Acting Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) any information as to the financial position. I hope, however, that he will avail himself of an early opportunity to advise honorable members as to the unsatisfactory position of the Commonwealth in regard to our indebtedness to Great Britain which the Treasurer (Mr. Watt) is now endeavouring to deal with.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - I wish I could tell the honorable member what the position is.

Mr McWILLIAMS - It is certainly very unsatisfactory and far from creditable to us as a Commonwealth, having regard to what Great Britain is staggering under and the determined efforts the Imperial Government is making to face the financial situation. We seem to be making no effort to face the position except by borrowing more and more. I hope this will be the very last occasion on which the authority of the House will be granted for loans in this direction. I wish to place on record my view that the whole position of the Commonwealth in regard to our indebtedness to Great Britain is most unsatisfactory, especially to the Government which has had the handling of the matter, and I hope that we shall receive an early intimation that these begging appeals to the Old Country are going to cease. '

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