PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2665


Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 25/08/1972

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 2665

Interview given by the Prime Minister, the Rt.
Hon. William McMahon on ABC National Television Network
Interviewer : Tony Joyce AUGUST, 1972
Introduction ( Bill Peach)
To revalue or not to revalue, that is the question.
Whether it is noble or not seems to be anybody's guess. Mr.
Whitlam and the Reserve Bank seem to think we should revalue right
away, they think the Australian dollar is undervalued. But no
sooner had Mr. Whitlam said this on TDT last night, then he was
being publicly contradicted by the Labor spokesman on rural affairs,
Dr. Rex Patterson. The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Anthony, weighed
in to accuse Mr. Whitlam of'a political crime", and the Prime
Minister, Mr. McMahon, said he thought the Australian dollar should
stay right where it was. The value of the Australian currency has
obviously become a political issue at least the politicians
themselves obviously see it as a political issue. The voters might
be finding it a bit hard. to work out which way the political benefits
would flow from this controversy since it appears there is
disagreement within both the Liberal and the Labor Party on what
we should do about the Aussie dollar. The Prime Minister, Mr.
McMahon, talks with Tony Joyce.
Q. Prime Minister, your Government's own advisers, the
Treasury, the Reserve Bank and most financial experts seem
to agree that a revaluation would ease inflation. Why then
has the Government decided against a revaluation?
PM. We must look at every single effect of the Budget
itself I'm sorry, of the valuation itself. In pure monetary
theory, you can probably justify an increase in the value of
the Australian dollar but when you look at other angles as,
for example, you look at what would happen to our rural
industries and the increased competition they would get and
the lower price they would receive, then you have to think a
second time.
Q. Well the Treasurer, Mr. Snedden, has not yet said
that he is against a revaluation are you going further and
arguing against the revaluation? / 2

PM. My opinions are exactly t-he same as the
Treasurer who is the Minister most involved' in this and it
is exactly the same as the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Anthony.
None of us wants revaluation.
Q. Mr. Snedden has said thouqh that he hasn't said
that there shouldn't be a revaluation.
PM. Has he? I didn't know he'd said that, but I do
know in a conversation with me he has indicated clearly that
our ideas are the same.
Q. Mr. Snedden last night on this programme said that
statements on the currencycould cause speculations. Do you
agree with this?
PM. I agree that statements of the kind made by
Mr. Whitlam could cause problems for us, and that is why I
believe that we have to be clear and definate that we have
no intention of revaluing.
Q. Yet Mr. Anthony has come out quite clearly for
the status quo. Is he not equally culpable with Mr. Whitlam
for making a positive statement?
PM. I think we have to make the positive statement
that revaluation will not take place, neither will devaluation
take place, and that is to make it certain that people will
be able to carry out their transactions without fear of
change in the value of the currency.
Q. You don't think that Mr. Anthony's clear
statement that he doesn't want any revaluation could itself
cause some sort of speculation?
PM. I don't. I think it became critically important
after Mr. Whitlam had made his statement that positive
statements be made on behalf of the Government that no change
would take place.
Q. Tc what extent did Mr. Anthony's public
statements both against revaluation and for an early election
embarrass you and the Government?
PM. Certainvly there could be no embarrassment so far
as changes in the value of the currency were concerned,
because only on Sunday night I went on and said exactly the
same as he had said so that couldn't have caused any
embarrassment to me. The other question hasn't caused much
embarrassment either.
Q. You say it hasn't caused much embarrassment?
PM. Yes.
Q. Mr. Anthony didn't, I believe, consult you before
he made these public statements?

PM. He talked to me about it, yes, and I knew his
views, but he did not think to tell me that he was going on
television, that is correct.
Q. Would you have preferred that Mr. Anthony had
consulted with you?
Pm. I don't think there would have been any difference,
Q. Might this not be seen though in a sense as the
Country Party tail wagging the Coalition dog?
PM. It obviously didn't happen, because I will make
up my own mind, I will listen to advice that is given, but the
decision will be made by me, so your impression of the tail
wagging the dog just couldn't be right.
0. Might this not be an impression that the
electorate could get?
PM. No I don't think so, I think on the contrary it
comes out as a decisive action on my part.
Q. Mr. Anthony seems to see revaluation as an election
issue which could be of some advantage to the Government.
Do you agree?
PM. Yes I do. It will be a marked election advantage
to the Government not only in the country areas but amongst
business and those who want the highest level of employment.
Because if we did revalue I think it would have a bad impact
on employment.
Q. Do you now see an early election as a more
attractive prospect?
PM. I just won't give you an answer to this no matter
how much you might try and encourage me to give the exact
date. I think I have the date in my mind and when the
proper occasion, or the prover moment comes when I'll
announce it, I'll announce it in the House and nowhere else.
Q. If the Budget is a good Budget and revaluation
is a good issue what then would be the advantage of waiting
to a later date?
Pm. Well, I'm asked, and I believe this is critically
important for me. We've made certain promises in the Budget.
They are some of the most humanitarian and profound or
wil1espread of any that I know since I've been in the Cabinet.
I believe that those that give benefits to the people should
be put into law before we go to the polls,
Why then does Mr. Anthony want to go now? / 4

PM. You must ask him those questions, but the
country is perhaps a little different, substantially
different, from the rest of Australia. That is a question
you'd better ask him not me.
Q. Mr. Snedden, too, has said that he's quite
happy to have an election.
PM. Yes, but the decision is mine and I will make
it and announce it at the appropriate time.
Q. Do you think the electorate is going to be
affected by this apparent split in the coalition?
PM. No I don't because it's a question as to date
not of substance, and I believe the electorate itself will
want to know the promises made are fulfilled before we in
fact go to the people.
Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much.

Transcript 2665