november / 21

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

21st November, 1967 : Federal Cabinet yesterday broke an historic link between Australian and British currency with a bold decision not to follow Britain’s move to devalue the pound sterling by 14.3 percent. The Prime Minister, Harold Holt, and his Treasurer, William McMahon, argued the strength of the Australian economy justified their decision, for the first time in our history, not to follow in the path of sterling. The Country Party fought to follow the British devaluation to protect the competitiveness of rural exports, but Cabinet’s decision was believed to have been based partly on the fact that Britain now ranks only seventh in Australia’s export markets and is no longer of such vital importance.

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