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Wednesday, 8 March 1961

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I appreciate the concern felt by the honorable gentleman, but I can assure him that throughout my term of office as Treasurer I have worked in the closest consultation with, and with the closest co-operation of, the Prime Minister, and that every significant economic and financial decision taken by the Government has been taken after discussion between us. We do not have a situation in this Government such as that which obtained in the previous Labour Government, when the Prime Minister was also Treasurer. In the absence of such a situation, and having in mind that financial matters are at the very core of government, it is, of course, imperative that the Treasurer and the Prime Minister should work very closely together in all matters having financial significance.

As to the announcement of unpopular measures, it is an occupational hazard with Treasurers that what they say usually causes them to become somewhat unpopular in one quarter or another. I believe that the Prime Minister, who has occupied his high position for a record term, has had to make, in his time, more than his share of unpopular statements. If, occasionally, he can point to a little ray of sunshine, I am only too glad to accord him the opportunity to do so.

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