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Wednesday, 26 April 1972
Page: 1325

Senator MURPHY (NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate who represents the Treasurer. I refer to the forecast by the President of the United States Export-Import Bank of the probability of an upward revaluation of the yen, resulting in a relative further devaluation of the United States dollar. I ask: Firstly, has the Australian Government firmly committed itself to a devaluation in parallel with further United States devaluations? Secondly, will the Government make a statement, for the information of the Senate and of the public, of the implications for Australia of the new sweeping powers over currency just taken by the Japanese Government and the implications of an upward revaluation by Japan?


The question asked of me in my capacity as the representative in this chamber of the Treasurer by the Leader of the Opposition is a very far reaching one. 1 would be very cautious in commenting on such a question without notice. Indeed,I would have grave reservations about responding to that type of question if it were placed on notice. The question relates to a hypothetical situation. The giving of an opinion in relation to the hypothetical devaluation of the currencies of the world could have tremendous consequences. In fact, I think it could have damaging consequences because Australia is a country whose trade is associated substantially with primary industry. Any implication in relation to the shape of things to come in the hypothetical situation of one other country doing something with its currency - whether it be upward or downward - could be damaging.

Senator Murphy - It could be helpful also.

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - It could bc damaging to the whole economy in Australia. I said 'could'. I am not categorically saying that it would or would not. That is the very reason why currency decisions are ones which, like those made in a Budget situation, have to be guarded and why when decisions are ultimately taken and released they have to be made with some precision. In deference to the Leader of the Opposition, having regard to his responsibilities and mine and to his status, I think that question should go on notice.

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