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Tuesday, 10 December 1912


Senator CHATAWAY (Queensland) . - Some time ago the Prime Minister said that he dreaded a seventh borrower appearing in the market. I find from the Budget-papers that in 1911 this * Parliament passed a Loan Bill authorizing the borrowing of £2,460,476. We are now asked to borrow , £529,526. We have made forced loans through the note issue to the extent of £5,703,816. Those three sums total £8,693,818. I find that the amount required to retire loans is £602,526. If we deduct that from the £8,693,000, we find that the actual net borrowing of this Government will be considerably over £8,000,000. The Government have entered into the business of money-lending as well as of borrowing. They borrow and lend out at the same time. The Budget-papers show that up to the 30th June no less than [£5,000,000 has been invested in the various States. That money was quite enough to meet the requirements covered by this measure. Some of the loans fall due in June and August of next year.


Senator Rae - Short-dated loans are profitable.


Senator CHATAWAY - The Government are only getting 3, 3½, and 3¾ per cent, on those loans. When Senator Rae speaks of short-dated loans, it is signicant to remember that no less than £3,130,000 has been invested in stocks which will fall due between 1919 and 1926. We can hardly call that a shortdated loan. The fact of the matter is that the reason why the Government are asking to be allowed to borrow this money is that they have been taking moneys available from the note issue, which, beyond the reserve, might have been legitimately used for purposes such as those for which this Bill is being passed, and have invested them outside. They have invested these moneys at 3 per cent., and now are going to borrow for the purposes of this Bill at 3½ per cent. Any one who imagines that the present Government have not borrowed something like £8,000,000 in three years will be making a serious mistake. What the Government really propose to do is to rob Peter to-day in order to pay Paul to-morrow.


Senator Rae - The honorable senator's party never had a " bean " to lend to anybody.


Senator CHATAWAY - The simple explanation of that is that under the Braddon section they were compelled to. pay back all surplus revenue to the States. Owing to the muddle which the Government have made in borrowing trust monevs, in order to lend them again, it is possible that the money asked for under this Bill should be borrowed. But I wish to say that I do not approve of the Government entering into the business of money lenders by raising money from the people in excess of requirements, whether by a forced loan, as they have done in connexion with the note issue, or in the form of excessive or unnecessary taxation. They should take as little as possible from the pockets of the people, and pay their way by managing the affairs of the Commonwealth as economically as possible.







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