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Tuesday, 23 October 1956

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) (Minister for Labour and National Service and Minister for Immigration) - I thought the story had been set out clearly enough in the second-reading speech I gave on this matter. What, of course, is involved in this measure is the desire to make more flexible the bargaining capacity of the Commonwealth Treasurer, or his representative, in loan negotiations. I thought 1 had pointed out sufficiently that past practice has been for negotiating limits to be prescribed. These negotiating limits are contained in an official document which, normally, has to be produced to the party to the loan. Once the loan has been negotiated it seems a very absurd position-

Mr Crean - Then you present this Parliament with a fait accompli.

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - It is clearly an undesirable position that, having been authorized to negotiate up to certain limits, and perhaps having negotiated a loan below the limits you are authorized to negotiate, you have to demonstrate your authority to the lender, and that authority reveals to the lender that you could have gone somewhat higher than you actually have gone.

Mr Ward - It is not of much use his knowing it then.

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - Ah, but there may be subsequent transactions, and these things are perhaps not forgotten in the future. As was pointed out earlier, it still is necessary to have the authority of the Australian Loan Council in respect of the terms and conditions of these transactions.

Mr Crean - You are not worried about the Australian Loan Council. What you are worried about are the loans that the Commonwealth negotiates for its own uses.

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - They still have to be approved by the Australian Loan Council as to terms and conditions, even if these are not revealed in the authority. That is my understanding of it.

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