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Tuesday, 29 August 1989
Page: 467

Senator BUTTON —Mr President, in the debate following Question Time last time the Senate met, Senator Stone accused me of misleading the Parliament by something I had said--

Senator Stone —I asked you whether you would provide it.

Senator BUTTON —The implications were clear. Senator Stone accused me of misleading the Parliament in relation to something I said in Question Time about the publication of the annual report of the Reserve Bank of Australia. I had said in Question Time that the report had been with the Government Printer before the Budget. I said that I believed that it had been in preparation for some time.

Senator Stone —Months before, you said.

Senator BUTTON —I think that is not correct, Senator. Mr Phillips, the Acting Governor of the Reserve Bank, had this to say in an interview on 17 August:

As a good central banker, I always believe that fiscal policy can be tightened a little bit further. But remember this report was also put together before the Budget. I mean it happened to be published two days after the Budget, but the actual writing of it was before the Budget parameters were known, before the size of the Government's surplus was known, before the extent of the public sector borrowing requirement was known. So there has been a tightening of fiscal policy in this Budget. We applaud that and we would encourage the Government, given the state of the economy at the moment and what might happen over the next 12 months, to keep looking in that direction.

I mention this to clarify the issue so far as it was raised in Question Time and subsequently on that day.