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Tuesday, 23 October 1956

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) (Minister for Labour and National Service and Minister for Immigration) . - I think the position was indicated clearly enough in my second-reading speech. I pointed out that this clause was designed to clear up a doubt which had developed. We did not believe that there was any doubt, and have acted as if there was no doubt. But some doubt has been cast on the position by the New Zealand act and it was felt desirable, as another provision was to be considered by the House, that the whole issue should be put beyond all reasonable doubt.

I cannot help feeling that the attitude of honorable gentlemen opposite in relation to overseas borrowings is very unrealistic. They seem to feel that Australia is doing somebody a service by accepting loans which others are apparently eager to thrust upon us. That has not been Australia's experience. Overseas borrowings are not easy to procure. The notion that we should keep the lender at bay until we have obtained the approval of the Parliament, which may not be meeting for the three or four months during which the loan is being negotiated, is, of course, entirely unrealistic. I suggest that the general question of the desirability or otherwise of overseas borrowings should not be discussed at this stage. If honorable gentlemen opposite had any conception of the difficulty of raising money overseas on terms which are reasonable to Australia they would be less disposed to cavil at the provisions of this bill. This is merely a formal provision to clear up some uncertainty which had developed.

Clause agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time. [Quorum formed.]

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