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Wednesday, 18 May 1960

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I was interested to see the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition, because it came at approximately the same time as one from his colleague, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, whose generosity was branching out in another direction. As I understand it, the Leader of the Opposition stated that the grant to the Northern Territory for capital purposes should be built up to this very considerable sum of £60,000.000 a year. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition made his statement to a Melbourne audience. He told his listeners that whilst this Government was providing only £1 in every £1,000 of national income for Afro-Asian development - an inaccurate estimate, but it will serve for the purpose of illustration - the Labour Party, if it was returned to office, would provide £1 in £100, or even £1 in £50 for the development of Afro-Asian countries. I took out some figures in order to see the effect of that proposal. The allocation of £1 in £50 would make an addition of £100,000,000 to the Commonwealth Budget and, if we were doing this at the same time as the Leader of the Opposition was providing £60,000,000 to the Northern Teritory - we do have in addition our other development commitments - the Commonwealth would have a major budget problem on its hands. However, the dreams that honorable gentlemen opposite have when in opposition contrast remarkably with the realities when they are in office. There was no Colombo Plan when they were in office - we originated that plan - but there was some provision for the Northern Territory which amounted to £600,000 a year. The provision we make at present is some seven times that amount, although it still falls very far short of the sum of £60,000,000 a year which the Leader of the Opposition has proposed.

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