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Tuesday, 9 May 1961

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I am reluctant to remind the honorable gentleman of an historical fact. Unless my memory is at fault - and I would, of course, stand correction from the honorable member on this matter - Australia became a foundation member of the International Monetary Fund, as well as of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, during the regime of a government of which a number of honorable members who now sit opposite were members, and of which, as I am reminded by the Prime Minister, the honorable member for East Sydney was himself a prominent, if not distinguished, member. We are no more subservient to the International Monetary Fund now than we were then. I am quite certain that if honorable members take the trouble to study the negotiations that have taken place with regard to our recent dealings with the fund they will come to the conclusion reached by the Government, that the action taken was eminently desirable for Australia's financial standing and economic strength, and also, as the relevant document sets out, for the maintenance of the employment of our people and the progress of our country.

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