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Wednesday, 19 April 1961

Mr HAROLD HOLT - The honorable gentleman does not appear to have followed very closely the course of events in this country over recent months. He attributes damage to the policies of the Government. He should be aware that the Government set out to cure a boom situation which had all the classic symptoms of developing into an economic crash. We who have been in this Parliament rather longer have not been without experience of the situation that can develop when a government does not grapple effectively with a boom situation which is generating its own critical symptoms. By moving as we did towards the end of November, we averted a situation which could have had all the consequences of what I shall continue to describe as a classic boom-bust situation emerging from excessive demand which was building up inside the Australian economy.

Undoubtedly, as a result of the firm measures taken at that time, there have been adjustments of a major character in some sections of the economy, and undoubtedly those adjustments have caused discomfort and even hardship in particular directions. I have said before, and I say it again, that we regret this. I have also said before, and I say again, that had this action not been taken the discomfort and hardship would have been a thousandfold worse than they have been under the policies of this Government. Most people recognize that the Australian economy is in far better balance now and certainly is not likely to see a repetition of the disastrous circumstances that emerged during a Labour term of office in the 'thirties.

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