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Wednesday, 4 November 1992
Page: 2550

Mr REITH —Mr Speaker—

  Government members—Sit down!

Mr SPEAKER —Order! Members of the Government will cease interjecting.

Mr REITH —following the Prime Minister's last answer, in which he revealed that he was going to keep his pathetic Treasurer out of the Senate committee, I refer the Treasurer to the revelation yesterday of Senator Button that he knew of the Victorian Loan Council affair in late July. Did the Treasurer inform Senator Button of Victoria's massive borrowings breach? What other Ministers were informed about the breach? Was the matter discussed in Cabinet or by an appropriate Cabinet subcommittee?

  Mr Keating interjecting

Mr REITH —Just keep your mouth shut. You won't be able to protect it—

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The Prime Minister and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition will cease interjecting.

Mr DAWKINS —The Opposition is making very heavy weather out of this. Just remember what all this was about. The Victorians decided, without telling us, to convert some short term borrowing to some medium borrowing. What they actually wanted me to do was to support that action. They wanted me to validate that action, which I refused to do. What they asked was whether we would support an application to the Loan Council to get them a special addition. I said, `No, not without a medium term strategy'. That is what we sought from them, and that is what we did not get. When we finally got a medium term strategy from the Kennett Government, we agreed to support such an application to the Loan Council. That is what this issue is all about. Just to make it clear what wreckers these people are, prior to Monday, when the Opposition had been going around, trying to make a meal of this, bond yields went out, particularly on Victorian paper.

Mr Tim Fischer —What about Moody's?

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The Leader of the National Party will cease interjecting.

Mr DAWKINS —What has happened since Monday? Since we have announced that agreement with Mr Kennett, the bond yields have actually come down because we have been able to restore some confidence in the financial markets. That is what we were always on about. You, on the other hand, were only trying to wreck—to wreck Victoria and to wreck this country.