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Thursday, 22 October 1931

Mr GREGORY (Swan) .- All along I have felt that it is futile to endeavour to resist the Government's proposals, but I do think that any money that is available from the sinking fund should be used to pay necessitous bondholders.

Mr Theodore - That is the intention.

Mr GREGORY - In his speech to-day the Treasurer said that certain moneys would be required to buy stock that was offering on the market below par. At a time like this we cannot, for our honour's sake, afford to go on the market and buy bonds at £82 and £84. We should first pay these people with the money that is available. I should like a definite instruction issued to the National Debt Commission in the matter.

Mr Theodore - It would be very undesirable to interfere with the free and unfettered judgment of the National Debt Commission. It might be taken as further interference with our loan contracts.

Mr GREGORY - We are already breaking contracts. I know that that cannot be helped, and I do not wish to reflect on the Government. I urge that, if possible, the National Debt Commission should be compelled not to go on the market at this juncture.

Mr Theodore - This provision enables the Commission to purchase securities at a price in excess of the market price, so that the securities of those who are in necessitous circumstances may be taken over at full face value.

Mr GREGORY - I should like the new clause to make it imperative that whatever money is available from the sinking fund shall be devoted to repaying bondholders who are in necessitous circumstances.

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