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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 2693


Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr GRASSBY - I claim to have been misrepresented by the honourable member for McMillan (Mr Hewson). Seeing that I corrected the inaccuracy of the statement he made when it was first put forward in the House by his Leader, I think I should take the same action in respect of the honourable member. He said that prior to the last election I promised on behalf of the Government that there would be an amount of $500m available for rural credit at 3 per cent. As I have pointed out previously, I first made the statement - and I have repeated it many times since - in the presence of the Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Anthony) at a conference which we both attended at Condoblin. On that occasion I said, and I repeat, that it was possible to make available $500m at 3 per cent and if the money was made available at 3 per cent and the interest rate was subsidised this would cost only SI 5m a year. That is a very reasonable proposition. It was put forward at a time when no rural credit was available. At the present time $3 50m is available at various interest rates for a whole range of purposes. I made that claim and that initiative has been followed up further-

Mr Malcolm Fraser - I raise a point of order. I suggest that the Minister is now debating the issue and not speaking to the personal explanation. This is especially so because I have in my office a copy of an advertisement - which includes a photograph of the Minister - in which the promise was in fact made.

Mr GRASSBY - I suggest to the honourable member for Wannon that he has further misrepresented me and I would also correct him. I also challenge him to produce the advertisement and to debate it. I would be delighted to do so. If it is a matter of his record against mine, we can debate that too.

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