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Memento : Issue 25
4 MEMENTO News from the National Archives We are delighted to award our 2004 Frederick Watson Fellowship to Professor Geoffrey Bolton. Professor Bolton is Chancellor of Murdoch University and an extensively published historian who has undertaken visiting fellowships at Kent, Cambridge and Oxford universities. Professor Bolton's fellowship will enable him to complete a book about Sir Paul Hasluck and his influence on Indigenous affairs and foreign policy. Sir Paul Hasluck made a significant contribution to modern history in Australia. In the early 1940s he was a senior officer with the Department of External Affairs under Dr Evatt, where he worked on the creation of the United Nations Charter and played a leading role in postwar planning. In the late 1940s until 1951 he was engaged as Official War Historian to write the political and social volumes of the official history of Australia in the Second World War. Sir Paul joined the Liberal Party and was elected to Federal Parliament where he served as the Member for Curtin (WA) from 1949 to 1969. During that time he was the Minister for Territories, Minister for Defence and Minister for External Affairs. As Minister for Territories, Sir Paul supported the policy known as 'assimilation' which related to Aboriginal people. He also helped to build and diversify the Northern Territory economy through mineral exploration and mining. Sir Paul was Minister for External Affairs during the Vietnam War, and an advocate of Australian intervention in Vietnam. From 1969 to 1974 he was Governor- General during the prime ministerships of Gorton, McMahon and Whitlam. We have a wealth of Commonwealth government records that will be essential research material for Professor Bolton's biography of Sir Paul Hasluck. They include records on the administration of Papua New Guinea when he was Minister for Territories, records on his work as Head of the Australian Mission to the United Nations, and records relating to his time as an official World War II historian. We look forward to Professor Bolton taking up his fellowship in Canberra in autumn 2004. A Famous Fellow Geoffrey Bolton to research Paul Hasluck's archives Minister for External Affairs Paul Hasluck meets Indonesia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Abdul Malik at Canberra airport, 1968. NAA: A1200, L74002 The economy The Australian economy was coming out of a recession in 1973, assisted by revaluations of the Australian dollar and a 25 per cent across-the-board tariff cut (described by the Australian Financial Review as 'undeniably one of the most forthright and courageous economic decisions taken by any Australian government'). A central question was how to balance Labor's reform program with Treasury's concern about inflation, the annual rate of which had reached 10 per cent by September 1973 -- that is, before the oil crisis and the wages blow-out. One solution was to pare back the previous government's (mostly rural) handouts; another -- an increase in income tax -- had been ruled out in the 1972 Policy Speech. Bill Hayden as Acting Treasurer -- prompted, it seems, by the Prime Minister -- submitted a hard-hitting Treasury paper designed to give Cabinet a 'pretty fair jolt' about the deleterious effects of inflation. Declaring the current rate to be 'untenable', the paper argued that the source of the problem was domestic not foreign, that the main victims were members of Labor's own constituency, and that the solution lay in part in restraining government expenditure. This proposition understandably caused considerable anguish, especially after interest rates had been lifted. So, at the end of 1973, ministers were torn between their commitment to change, the political need to establish credibility as economic managers and the simple fact that, whatever they did, Australians would be hurt. It did not assist their equilibrium to be confronted by Treasury officials who claimed they were merely technicians asking for political direction, while resolutely rejecting every proposed alternative to expenditure cuts and tax rises. To r ead Ian Hancock's paper in full, or to view the Cabinet records online, visit 'The Collection' section on our website at www.naa.gov.au. 19 73 continued from page 3 "