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Thursday, 23 June 1949

Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) .- The three sub-clauses of this clause ought to be read together. Sub-clause 1 reads -

The Authority shall have power to borrow money on overdraft from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia upon the guarantee of the Treasurer.

No one who borrows from the Commonwealth Bank has to get the authority of the Parliament to do so. The Treasurer must guarantee the loan to the authority if it borrows from the bank. Obviously, if the Treasurer had to honour that guarantee he would have to have the authority of the Parliament.

Mr Archie Cameron - He can give a guarantee without the consent of the Parliament.

Mr BEAZLEY - He can, but he would have to honour the guarantee if he were called upon to do so, and he could not do that without the consent of the Parliament. Sub-clause 2 reads -

The Treasurer may, out of moneys appropriated by the Parliament for the purposes of this Act, make advances to the Authority of such amounts and upon such terms as he thinks fit.

Clearly, that envisages the contingency that the Treasurer will be required to honour a guarantee. The sub-clause provides that the ordinary appropriation by the Parliament shall be made to honour the guarantee. The honorable member for Barker made certain points about subclause 3, which reads -

Except with the consent of the Treasurer, the Authority shall not have power to borrow money otherwise than in accordance with this section.

That provides strictly that the money must be advanced by the Commonwealth Bank.

Mr Archie Cameron - It does not.

Mr BEAZLEY - The first sub-clause provides-

T.he Authority shall have power to borrow money on overdraft from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia upon the guarantee of the Treasurer.

Noother bank or other institution from which the authority may borrow is provided for, except as provided for in subclause 3.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - It might borrow from " Maxie " Falstein under that.

Mr BEAZLEY - Well, not even the frenzied finance of the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) has reached that depth, but it might. Sub-clause 3 provides that the authority may borrow by other means. I am rather sorry to see that provision, because I am certain that a government made up of the Opposition parties would probably use a public loan rather than the means set out in sub-clause 1 as a means of financing the project. I think the three sub-clauses, read together, show that there is no weakening of the ordinary authority of the Parliament; but, quite clearly, when the Commonwealth Bank is asked to advance money to a public authority, the guarantee of the Treasurer must be given, and, if the Treasurer is required under sub-clause 2 to honour the guarantee, the money with which to honour the guarantee must be appropriated by the Parliament.

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