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Wednesday, 25 September 1974
Page: 1379

Senator MARRIOTT (TASMANIA) - I direct a question to the Minister for Agriculture who represents the Treasurer in the Senate, so that we can get an answer on this business of the devaluation of the Australian currency. Is it a fact that the official news release concerning the devaluation of the Australian dollar was distributed to the parliamentary Press Gallery at 5.55 a.m. today? Has the Minister seen this morning's issue of the Melbourne 'Sun' whose front page story forecasts precisely the decision that was later officially announced? Is it not a fact that for the Melbourne 'Sun' to publish this story on the front page of its edition which was available in Canberra early this morning, the news must have been sent by its writer, Mr Laurie Oakes, by at least 9.30 p.m. last night? Does this indicate that someone in Cabinet or an official leaked this important financial change of policy whilst overseas money markets were still operating? Is an inquiry into this serious breach of governmental and parliamentary tradition to be promised to this Parliament?

Senator WRIEDT -Firstly, I understand that a Press release was issued this morning. I have seen a copy of it. I have not seen the report in the Melbourne 'Sun' to which reference has been made, nor have I seen any of the other Melbourne newspapers today. I am not in a position to answer the hypothetical questions which the honourable senator has asked or the assumptions that he has made. I do not know the machinery of what transpired in respect of the release of that information. As has already been indicated by Senator Murphy, I was not aware of the decision. As the Prime Minister himself has indicated, only 3 Ministers, including himself, were aware of the decision. Therefore, I am unable to make any further comment or to indicate whether or not the assumptions made by the honourable senator are correct.

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