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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1405

Senator CAVANAGH (South AustraliaMinister for Aboriginal Affairs) - At the moment I do not have any advisers. I rely on what the Papua New Guinea Loans Guarantee Bill says. I do not think there is any real doubt about the first question which Senator Wright raised. Clause 5(1) permits us to give the guarantee. Clause 5 (2) states:

A guarantee or guarantees shall not be given under subsection ( I ) in relation to the borrowing, whether under one agreement or two or more agreements, of foreign currency the equivalent of which in Australian currency exceeds Twentyfour million dollars.

Therefore, it is obvious that $24m is the limit of our guarantees. In the aggregate, we can guarantee only up to $24m. Clause 6 provides the method of payment. The situation referred to by Senator Wright arises only when we have to meet a payment under the guarantees. In the event of having to meet a payment, any payments by Australia under guarantee are payable out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is appropriated accordingly'. We are dealing with the appropriation now. It does not come under review from time to time. I do not think it should come under review because we are now making the commitment, not knowing what the future will be. If it came under review there could be a refusal to honour our undertaking and guarantee on this occasion. We guarantee a loan. The Treasurer simply pays if we are called upon, under clause 5, to meet our obligation as a result of the guarantee. The Parliament is deciding this issue now.

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