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Wednesday, 1 December 1965

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I ask the Treasurer to resume his seat for a moment. It is impossible to conduct question time along these lines. A question has been asked of the Treasurer. He has the right to reply and all honorable members are entitled to hear him. I must ask honorable members to refrain from interjecting. If they do not, it will be necessary to take firm action.

Mr HAROLD HOLT - The point I was hoping to make for the information of the honorable gentleman is that over the period in which this Government has been in office there has been less fluctuation in the Australian economy than there has been in the economy of almost any other country the honorable member may care to name. Having regard to the fluctuations that this country must always be prepared to cope with, as a result of seasonal hazards and variations of the prices we receive overseas for our products, we can all take some satisfaction and pride in the fact that Australia has been able to sustain such a high level of progress over a period of years with such little fluctuation in the economy. This does not mean that we do not keep the closest watch upon trends that develop within the economy. We have no wish to restrict the economy, but to the extent that it is within the power of a government, and a government inside a federation, to cope with economic fluctuations as they occur we try to do so. The review that is made in the Treasury and in other economic departments is constant, and from time to time the Government makes its own policy reviews of the situation. That process, Sir, will be continued. To the extent that we have it in our power to maintain the economy in steady progress, we shall take whatever action appears to us appropriate for this purpose.

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