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Thursday, 17 February 1977

Mr SPEAKER -Does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) -Yes. During one of his answers today the Treasurer (Mr Lynch) asserted that I had said that an overseas loan of $4 billion would have obviated the need for a devaluation. In fact, what I said, as appears on page 34 of the Hansard of last Tuesday, was this:

Last year his Government borrowed $1 billion overseas. In November 1976 the Treasury said: 'Hold fast. Do not devalue. You will not have to devalue. No one can continue to profiteer in the Australian currency if you borrow another $ 1 billion overseas '.

The Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and the Treasurer disagreed with the Treasury advice and devalued. I went on to say:

Thereby they committed the most inflationary act possible on the pan of any national government.

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