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Tuesday, 16 November 1976

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - I think that there has been a number of reports which indicated that I told the Parliament last week that there would be no rise in interest rates. Unfortunately, my answer should have been read against the question that I was asked because the question referred quite specifically to interest rates in relation to primary producers. I had pointed out how inflation had fallen heavily on some sections of the community- sections unlike public servants and politicians and people who go to the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and to some extent have their wages indexed. I had pointed out that we would not be seeing additional costs put on such sections of the community. In my answer I also referred to exporters. I said that exporters and primary producers would not be subject to increased interest charges, whether they be small borrowers or larger borrowers within those categories. I also pointed out that this was a matter that the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia had agreed to significantly before any announcement about changes in interest rates were in fact made. So I hope that clarifies the matter. The statement was a limited one about a limited group of people who have suffered exceptionally as a result of the inflation of the last few years.

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