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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 1522

Mr COLLARD (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - In directing my question to the Prime Minister I refer to an election promise made by the Australian Country Party in 1969 to provide Commonwealth assistance to local authorities for amenities such as swimming pools. I ask: Does the Prime Minister recall telling me recently that that promise was merely a Country Party proposal which the Government had not adopted? Does this mean that the Country Party deliberately made a promise which it knew would have appeal to country people but which it also knew would be rejected by the Liberal Party, or is it correct that it was actually made with Liberal Party approval which was subsequently withdrawn? Or does it simply mean that promises made by either Party are subject to subsequent approval by the coalitition and therefore must always be treated as suspect? Finally, is this the reason why we so frequently hear members of one Government party blaming the other for the non-implementation of election promises?

Mr McMAHON - This is hardly a question relating to administration but a blatant political exercise.

Opposition members - Oh!

Mr McMAHON - Perhaps I put it a little mildly. I should have said it was blatant and politically crude. As to the substance of the honourable gentleman's statement as it is, I will obtain for him figures relating to increases in grants that have been made for public works and housing for semi-government and local government authorities. I will also obtain for him figures showing the extent to which we decided at the last Premiers Conference to increase the amount up to which local government authorities could borrow without recourse to the Commonwealth itself. I think that when the honourable gentleman sees those figures he will realise that there have been very substantial increases in every kind of government, semigovernment and local government expenditure, or at least approvals for them, and that in each case loans have at least mct the standard of approval set at meetings of the Prime Minister and Premiers. As I said, this is a political question but nevertheless it will be a pleasure for me to show how wrong the honourable gentleman is in what he said in his question and how much the Liberal Party and the Country Party live up to their promises.

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