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Thursday, 28 May 1987
Page: 3526


Mr HOWARD (Leader of the Opposition) —Madam Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


Madam SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


Mr HOWARD —Yes.


Madam SPEAKER —The honourable member may proceed.


Mr HOWARD —During Question Time the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) incorrectly claimed that it is my policy and the policy of my Party to deregulate completely interest rates for all housing loans. That is completely incorrect. I will read from a policy statement which I issued on behalf of the Opposition on 3 January 1986 in which I said:

The Opposition therefore believes that the Government should maintain the ceiling for existing borrowers but provide greater flexibility for banks to negotiate interest rates with new borrowers.

That means that we would keep the ceiling on existing loans; we would deregulate new loans. That policy was adopted in its entirety by the Government itself three months after I made that statement. Therefore, the claim by the Prime Minister that our policy is in favour of complete deregulation of existing housing interest rates is a complete and deliberate misstatement of the position.