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Wednesday, 1 December 1976

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask a question of the Treasurer. Is it a fact that many resource rich but capital poor countries such as Venezuela, a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Mexico, the Philippines and Spain have in the last year borrowed amounts in excess of $1 billion not by going into hock with the International Monetary Fund or letting profiteers take them to the cleaners but by borrowing from merchant banks at modest interest rates for periods of 5 to 7 years, or, in the case of the Philippines, from 5 to 8 years? Why did not the Government take this option of borrowing a further billion dollars to solve Australia's short term economic problems rather than the devaluation option which, to quote his own recent statement, 'would increase unemployment, would have inflationary effects and would certainly be generally unhelpful '?

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