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Thursday, 13 September 1973
Page: 939

Mr NIXON (GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Following the overruling of the 3-man Cabinet decision on interest rates, can the Prime Minister say when the 90-man cabinet will inform the nation what interest rates will be?

Mr WHITLAM - Neither the Cabinet nor any members of the Cabinet made any decision on interest rates. Some members of the Cabinet - the 3 senior members - concurred in a proposal by the Reserve Bank concerning the sale of government securities. Surely honourable gentlemen should recollect, because it is their own Act of Parliament, that any bank interest rates, for instance, can be the subject of regulations which the Reserve Bank makes with the approval of the Treasurer. The honourable gentleman belongs to a Party which 3 years ago, under the last Liberal who had any economic expertise as Treasurer - the honourable member for Wentworth - did in fact give selective interest rates in favour of rural debtors. The Government is considering, in accordance with its policy announced at the last election and in accordance with its attitudes expressed by me and many others for many years past, selective interest rates in favour of mortgagors if bank interest rates go up. But bank interest rates will not go up unless the Reserve Bank's proposals in that end are approved by the Treasurer. That is what the law says. The law will be observed.

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