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Wednesday, 17 May 1972
Page: 2655

Mr WHITTORN (BALACLAVA, VICTORIA) - I address a question to the Treasurer. Is the State Labor Premier of Western Australia now negotiating overseas loans with foreign financiers? How do loans such as these affect inflation and how do they line up with the remarks of carping critics who continually raise matters of public importance in this House about overseas investment in Australia?

Mr SNEDDEN - There are 2 tongues when the Labor Party speaks on economic measures.

Mr Jeff Bate - Forked tongues.

Mr SNEDDEN - To that interjection I do not respond, but no doubt it does have reality. The plain fact of the matter is that the Labor Party will choose whatever grounds it can to try to make political capital of economic measures. The Labor Party scarcely ever has any real regard for the national interest in economic measures and it sees them always in political terms only. An example of this is contained in the question asked by the honourable member. What the Labor Premier of Western Australia says is quite different from what Labor spokesmen say in this House. Very often in this House one spokesman will be saying something and others will be saying something different. For instance, in education the honourable member for Bendigo will be saying one thing while other members of his Party are terrified about where he is carrying them. There are a number of other examples on the question of inflation. For instance, the Labor Party never states an attitude to a wages policy. There is a very real reason why it does not do so - because it does not dare. If anyone in the Labor Party were to say that there should be a brake on the increase of wages he would suffer the same fate as the honourable member for Hindmarsh who received a flood of telegrams when he had the temerity at a Federal Executive meeting in Adelaide to suggest that very thing. That was the closest the Labor Party ever came to a policy on wages. So it is with the inflow of capital into Australia. The Labor Party is prepared and anxious to climb on whatever bandwagon it sees going by. The unfortunate thing is that many Labor supporters are on different bandwagons. Sooner or later they will have to pull their policies together. Then perhaps there will be a reconciliation between the views of the Premier of Western Australia and of other Labor spokesmen.

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