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Wednesday, 23 March 1927

Senator GRANT (New South Wales) . - I am not prepared to say why the Labour Government of New South' Wales has declined up to date to cooperate with the other States and the Commonwealth in the matter of public borrowings; but I have no doubt that it can advance good and sufficient reasons for its action. That Government has passed through a fairly strenuous time in recent years, and I am quite satisfied that if Mr. Lang could get the money he requires for New South Wales public undertakings more cheaply and more expeditiously through the Loan Council than by his present method, he would at once cooperate, as has been suggested by my leader (Senator Needham).

Senator Duncan - The last loan cost the New South Wales Government over ½ per cent, more than it would have cost if it had been placed through the Loan Council.

Senator GRANT - That is merely an assertion which will not bear examination. The Government of New South Wales, in its wisdom, has so far declined" to co-operate with the other States. It has also declined, to accept the Commonwealth's scheme for joint electoral rolls. I rose to say that in my judgment the time has arrived when all money required by either the Commonwealth or the States should, if possible, be raised within the Commonwealth. During the war many people held the view that we should be unable to finance any considerable portion of our war expenditure within Australia; but, as we know, loan after loan was fully subscribed by the people, and altogether the transactions were eminently satisfactory. The time has come when, instead of going to London or New York for our loan requirements, any money for the needs of the Commonwealth Government or the States should be raised locally. I remind the protectionists and high tariffists who are supporting the Government, that when a loan is floated in London we do not get Bank of England notes. About all we get is a message, possibly now by wireless, that a loan has been floated, and probably the same afternoon the money is available in Commonwealth bank notes or in the form of credits in London. A huge joke is being put over the people in connexion with this system of borrowing in London. I suggest to the Government that the time is opportune to examine more closely the whole position, and, if possible, abandon the policy of raising abroad money required for Commonwealth or State purposes.

Senator J B Hayes - And take all the money out of industry ?

Senator GRANT - The honorable Senator should not talk so foolishly. Similar statements were made during the war; but, notwithstanding all the objections made, we raised considerable sums for war purposes without the slightest trouble. I invite the honorable senator to note the huge deposits in the Commonwealth and State Savings Banks as well as' in the many private banks throughout the Commonwealth. It is absurd to say that wecannot raise within the Commonwealth all the money that we require.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

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