Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Mr. Connor's $4,000 Million Loan



Download PDFDownload PDF

FOR PRESS F 7 5 / 1 6 9 13 June 1975

THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

MR. CONNOR'S $ 4 , 0 0 0 MI LLI ON LOAN

T h e d o c u m e n t s d e a l i n g w i t h t h e p r o p o s e d b o r r o w i n g by Mr . C o n n o r o f

$ 4 , 0 0 0 m i l l i o n i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e G o v e r n m e n t mu s t h a v e be e n v e r y

c l o s e t o a c o l l a p s e i n m o r a l e i n D e c e mb e r l a s t y e a r .

T h e y i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e P r i m e M i n i s t e r ha s o n c e a g a i n b e e n l e s s t h a n

f r a n k w i t h t h e P a r l i a m e n t .

He s a i d t h e l o a n was f o r m a t t e r s c o n n e c t e d w i t h e n e r g y .

I n f a c t t h e l o a n was f o r a much w i d e r r a n g e o f p u r p o s e s w h i c h

i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e G o v e r n m e n t was so f e a r f u l o f t h e e c o n o m i c

s i t u a t i o n t h a t i t was p r e p a r e d t o m o r t g a g e t h e n a t i o n ' s f u t u r e t o

t h e M i d d l e E a s t .

T h e e x p l a n a t o r y me mo r a n d u m a t t a c h e d t o t h e E x e c u t i v e C o u n c i l M i n u t e

on D e c e m b e r 13 s a i d t h e G o v e r n m e n t n e e d e d s u b s t a n t i a l sums o f n o n ­

e q u i t y c a p i t a l t o d e a l w i t h t h e i n t e r n a t i o n a l e n e r g y c r i s i s , t o

s t r e n g t h e n t h e e x t e r n a l f i n a n c i a l p o s i t i o n , t o p r o v i d e i m m e d i a t e

p r o t e c t i o n i n r e g a r d t o s u p p l i e s o f m i n e r a l s a nd e n e r g y , and t o d e a l

w i t h c u r r e n t a nd i m m e d i a t e l y f o r e s e e a b l e u n e m p l o y m e n t i n A u s t r a l i a .

I f t h e s e w e r e t h e r e a s o n s why t h e G o v e r n m e n t was l o o k i n g f o r mo n e y ,

why d i d M r . W h i t l a m t e l l P a r l i a m e n t i t was f o r m a t t e r s c o n n e c t e d w i t h

e n e r g y , i m p l y i n g t h i s was t h e s o l e p u r p o s e ?

I f t h e l o a n was b e i n g s o u g h t f o r m a t t e r s c o n n e c t e d w i t h e n e r g y ,

t o g e t h e r w i t h o t h e r p u r p o s e s , why d i d M r . C o n n o r c o n t i n u e t o r e a s s u r e

t h e P a r l i a m e n t a b o u t t h e a d e q u a c y o f A u s t r a l i a ' s f u e l r e s o u r c e s ?

I f t h e s i t u a t i o n w a s . so c r i t i c a l , why d o e s t h e G o v e r n m e n t c o n t i n u e

t o d i s c o u r a g e e x p l o r a t i o n i n A u s t r a l i a f o r o i l ?

How much o f t h e $ 4 , 0 0 0 m i l l i o n was e a r m a r k e d f o r u n e m p l o y m e n t r e l i e f ?

How many p e o p l e d i d t h e G o v e r n m e n t e x p e c t i n D e c e m b e r l a s t y e a r

w o u l d l o s e t h e i r j o b s t h i s y e a r ?

A b o v e a l l , why was a l o a n r a i s i n g o f t h i s m a g n i t u d e , a sum t h r e e

t i m e s as much as t h e t o t a l b o r r o w e d o v e r s e a s t o d a t e t h r o u g h o u t

t h e w h o l e o f A u s t r a l i a ' s h i s t o r y , e n t r u s t e d t o t h e M i n i s t e r f o r

M i n e r a l s a n d E n e r g y i n s t e a d o f t o t h e T r e a s u r y ? a nd why d i d

M r . C o n n o r c o m m i s s i o n M r . K h e m l a n i t o r a i s e t h e mone y i n s t e a d o f

w o r k i n g t h r o u g h t h e n o r m a l i n t e r n a t i o n a l b a n k i n g s y s t e m ?

T h i s b o r r o w i n g was o f s u c h m a g n i t u d e t h a t t h e P r i m e M i n i s t e r s h o u l d

h a v e p e r s o n a l l y s u p e r v i s e d t h e n e g o t i a t i o n s a t e v e r y s t a g e .

. . 2

Λ-5 2 .

I n s t e a d , he l e f t t h e c o n d u c t o f t h e n e g o t i a t i o n s t o H r . C o n n o r

who s h o we d h i m s e l f t o be u t t e r l y i n e x p e r i e n c e d a nd u n w i s e , t o t h e

d e t r i m e n t o f A u s t r a l i a ' s r e p u t a t i o n a b r o a d .

T h e q u e s t j o n mu s t be a s k e d a g a i n ; w h a t i s t h e h o l d w h i c h Mr · C o n n o r

ha s o v e r t h e P r i m e M i n i s t e r a nd w h i c h h a s g i v e n t h e M i n i s t e r f o r

M i n e r a l s a n d E n e r g y s u c h a p o w e r f u l p o s i t i o n i n t h e G o v e r n m e n t ,

d e s p i t e h i s r e c o r d .

D r . C a i r n s was s a c k e d f o r w r i t i n g o p e l e t t e r . Why was M r . C o n n o r

n o t s a c k e d f o r w r i t i n g a n o t h e r ? Was i t d i f f e r e n t ? We d o n ' t k n o w .

B o t h t h e P r i m e M i n i s t e r a nd Mr · C o n n o r a r e s i t t i n g on i t .

T h e G o v e r n m e n t j s t u r n i n g i t s e l f i n t o t h e mo s t s e c r e t o f a l l

g o v e r n m e n t s . ! t ‘ s c l a i m t o o p e n g o v e r n m e n t was a m y t h . T h e P r i m e

M i n i s t e r ' s c r e d i b i 1 i t y ha s r e c e i v e d a f u r t h e r c h a l l e n g e .