Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 25 September 1974
Page: 1376

Senator GREENWOOD -My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is it a fact that knowledge of the impending devaluation was held only by certain Ministers in the Government, namely the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Treasurer? Was the release of the news of the devaluation of the Australian dollar, known to members of the Australian Press last night at a time when speculation could take place on the money markets of the Northern Hemisphere, a deliberate act? If so, why was the news prematurely released some 8 hours or more before the official announcement? Does the Leader of the Government in the Senate, as Attorney-General, condone premature release in those circumstances? Will the Attorney-General undertake an inquiry to ascertain the circumstances of that release and to assure the Australian public that the Government is not party to the dissemination of insider information by which people can profit?

Senator MURPHY - It is, of course, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition indicates, a serious matter if people can gain out of premature or insider knowledge of any activities, whether they be of public companies or especially of the Government. This problem must be faced with Budget decisions and decisions such as devaluation or planning decisions. Senator Greenwood asked me whether only 3 Ministers knew of the decision. My understanding is that that is correct as far as Ministers are concerned. Without knowing, I could quite readily assume that others must have known.

Senator Greenwood - There would be certain staff involved.

Senator MURPHY -Yes, there must be staff. There must be communication. I suppose there must have been cables. All sorts of things must have occurred in order to prepare for such an eventuality. The 3 persons mentioned by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition are of unimpeachable integrity and it is unthinkable that any of them would in any way gain or seek to gain. I do not understand Senator Greenwood to suggest that. Inevitably when such a decision is made obviously people must be informed about it so they will be prepared. I do not know how tight the arrangements are when one sends the information. I suppose that persons must be alerted that there may be a devaluation or how close it is to the actual decision. Obviously in this world communications of that kind must occur between staffs. I do not know how many people really would have known. I suppose from time to time some kind of intimation gets out. I repeat that at least the Government did not indulge in the kind of forewarning that occurred in the time of the previous Government when the impending devaluation or change in currency was discussed at large for days and days and become world news.

Suggest corrections