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Thursday, 19 May 1960

Mr HAROLD HOLT - The honorable gentleman quotes figures which are not in my mind, based on any advice that has been received by me. I do not know how any State, or for that matter the Commonwealth, could decide with precision at this stage what the cost of the margins decision is likely to be in this financial year. In the first place, we still have before the tribunal an aspect of the matter that is yet to be resolved. I shall not canvass the likely outcome of that application, but certainly we cannot say with precision where we stand until we have that decision. It may well be that some of the State governments are in a similar position. Where does one's analysis of this matter stop? The increased incomes which some people have secured as a result of the margins decision have enabled them to do various things which have increased State revenues. They bet more on the races; they have bought more motor cars; they have done a variety of things; they have perhaps used transport services to a greater degree. Who is going to say precisely, until the financial year is ended and the results of the year are analysed. just how a particular government came out of the year's transactions? I have no doubt that in the fullness of time we will have these answers. I also have no doubt that this Government acted generously, to the point of embarrassing its own finances, in the arrangement it made last year which was accepted unanimously by. State governments as a basis of a six-year arrangement between the Commonwealth and the States.

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