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Tuesday, 11 September 1973
Page: 731

Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - I ask the Treasurer whether he recalls his reply to a question asked by the

Leader of the Opposition in this House on 30 August in which he said:

If the state of the economy is to be the criterion, I suggest to all investors that they hold on to their shares.

Does the honourable gentleman now realise that such advice is hollow and misconceived in the light of yesterday's massive downturn in the stock market which has led to major losses by many thousands of small investors? Does he appreciate that confidence throughout this country will not be restored by fine words from him or by ad hoc decisions of the type we have witnessed recently, but requires a coherent and cohesive package of anti-inflationary policies? Will the Treasurer give this House an assurance that the Government will adopt a comprehensive multipolicy approach to combatting inflation and so restore confidence in the Australian economy?

Mr CREAN - At least the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has dug up a more recent statement than his leader did. I did advise shareholders on 30 August to hold their shares. But I did not mean for 10 minutes or 10 days; I meant for a more sensible period such as at least 10 months. I repeat my advice: Still hold them, because the future of this country is good. I would like to ask the honourable members who score so many points in this way: Were they concerned when shares in Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd stood at something like $22 to $24? What was the rip-off in share values in the last several years that brought that particular security down from $22 to about $7? BHP is a better investment than the most recent selling prices would indicate. I talked the other day with the management of BHP. I take the opportunity of talking with any groups of that kind. They indicated that they were a little concerned when the shares were as high as $24. They are equally as concerned now that the shares are as low as they are, and so they should be. I pay this tribute to BHP: I always have been an admirer of it despite what some honourable members opposite may think. I think it is an example of a monopoly that has not always used its monopoly power in the way that theoetically one might suppose it could use that power. I would say to those people who are selling those sorts of shares at this low value: Hang on to them because they will appreciate.

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