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Wednesday, 3 April 1957

Mr ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Lawrence) - Order! I suggest that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition keep to his speech and disregard interjections.

Mr CALWELL - I shall ignore them, sir. I was trying to throw some light upon the question, because obviously honorable members opposite know nothing about the legislation for which they are being asked to vote. They have given no consideration to the matter at all. They are not concerned really with the merits or demerits of the proposal. They do not want to try to improve the legislation. Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to come in and vote, be satisfied and perhaps earn a just reward at a later period, either in this life or hereafter.

The fifth reason why we oppose the Government's practice of raising money overseas is (his: If the Government claims that it is necessary to raise money in the dollar area to finance the purchase of goods that cannot be manufactured in Australia or imported from England, then a case should be presented to the Parliament for its approval before agreements are signed. That, surely, is a reason that should commend itself to everybody. There are other reasons, too, but I think that what I have said suffices to indicate the feeling of the Opposition, its disapproval of the principle of overseas borrowing and its protest against the manner in which this strange and odd Government always treats the National Parliament in matters of such major importance as the present measure. The Government thinks that a measure of this kind should be passed through the Parliament without any real discussion or debate. The Government thinks it has done a wonderful thing in raising money overseas. Well, it has a pretty hard struggle in every case to obtain that money, which indicates just how poor is our financial standing overseas. It indicates, too. that the time will come when the Government may not be able to borrow any more money overseas. As I said in relation to the previous measure, we are now borrowing overseas only sufficient money to pay the interest that we have incurred, and the amortization charges that we owe, in respect of money that we have borrowed previously.

Mr Haylen - That is what the Government calls progress.

Mr CALWELL - Yes, that is what Government supporters call progress. If we continue with a policy that requires us to borrow money overseas to pay interest on the loans that we have previously raised, we will soon be broke, and that will happen no matter how often the Prime Minister f\ir. Menzies) and those who support him k about Australia enjoying the greatest r-n of prosperity that it has known in its 1 ""> years of existence.

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