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Wednesday, 27 February 1952

Mr MENZIES - Apart from, the argumentative parts of the honorable member's questions, I think that he has quoted accurately from my policy speech of the 1949 general election campaign. He is not unaware of the fact, I hope, that the loan demands of all Australian governments, and in particular the governments of the States, have been greater in the last eighteen months than the market has been able to provide. This circumstance has developed since 1949. For example, during the current financial year the governments of the States, which have been given the substantially exclusive right of recourse to the loan market, have programmes totalling £225,000,000 for public works, which include some works of the description mentioned by the honorable member. The loan market, as is well known, will not provide anything like the amount of £225,000,000 and," as a result, this Government will be called upon to find a. very large sum in order to enable the State programmes to be carried through in accordance with the schedule. It is very difficult to believe that, in these circumstances, in which the Commonwealth's taxpayers will be called upon to provide a sum of at least £100,000,000 for State works programmes this year, the honorable member would propose that we should go through the somewhat curious procedure of increasing our demands on the already overstrained loan market.

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