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Tuesday, 2 October 1906

Senator FRASER (Victoria) .- I have only a few words to say. It is possible that the Bill would do no harm if it became law, but I think it would be almost useless. I am glad to be able to say that I have heard that Victoria will be able to pay off nearly the whole of her .£4,000,000 loan when it matures. I was guarded iri my statement on the subject the other day. but since I spoke then I have posted mvself up in the matter, and I learn that Victoria will be prepared to pay off almost the whole of the ,£4,000,000 shortly falling due. We might pass thousands of statutes, and yet the only way in which our securities can be improved is by the. States facing the situation, and paying off their loans when thev mature. I am glad to say on the best authority, that of the Premier of this State, that already arrangements have been made for the* payment by Victoria of ,£3,000,000 out of the £4,000,000 loan shortly falling due.

Senator Walker - How much of that will be taken out of the savings-bank deposits ?

Senator FRASER - Probably about £2,500,000, but that will not matter since they represent the savings of the people.

Senator Drake - It will be a local loan, all the same.

Senator FRASER - It will be a local loan, and I am only too delighted to learn that we shall be able to get the money from our own people. That is the proper system to encourage. I am able to make another statement in connexion with the matter, and that is that the interest on the money which is to be obtained to meet the loan shortly falling due will be only 3^ per cent., and there will be no commission charged. Honorable senators are aware that we have had to pay very heavy commissions in the past. I say that when the fact I have stated becomes known in London next July, and I suppose it has already been referred to in the financial press, investors will at once rush our stock. The fact that Victoria is able to do this will enormously' enhance the credit of the other States. We need not be at all alarmed about our financial position. It is as sound as it can possibly be, and I am only too happy to be able to say so.

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