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Thursday, 28 May 1942

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) . - This is one of the most important proposals to be brought to our notice since the Government introduced its financial programme a week or two ago. This scheme of post-war credits is not new, and I do not propose to debate it at any length. I did not speak on the subject last October, when the Fadden budget was under consideration, although I voted in favour of that budget. Times have changed since then, but all that was said in support of post-war credits at that time has been amply justified by events. It has been proved beyond doubt that the easiest, quickest, and most satisfactory solution of some of our financial problems, at least, would be the adoption of a policy of post-war credits. The points put by the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson) are very good ones. The adoption of the system of post-war credits would result in savings being effected by many persons who will need financial resources at some time in the future ; and there would be a restriction of purchasing power in a market that is being depleted of goods, but not of money. If the volume of cash in circulation be maintained, the one result of the reduction of the volume of goods available must be rising prices. With money, but not goods, available, and rationing in force, what has become known throughout the world during this war as " black markets " will become operative. Unless a very firm grip be taken of the situation, the Government will experience quite a lot of difficulty in that connexion. The proposal of the Leader of the Opposition may not be agreed to by- the committee - it was rejected by a majority of honorable members last year - but that will not prove that it is not the best of the proposals that have so far been advanced. Therefore, the committee would be acting correctly if by the means proposed it were to provide an indication of a point in the distance towards which the Government might move, and give some idea of the country that has to be traversed.

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