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Thursday, 4 May 1939

Sir FREDERICK STEWART (Parramatta) (Minister for Health) . - I was greatly surprised to-night at the white heat of indignation to which the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Frost) worked himself when dealing with some references made to a certain political matter by myself. I wonder to what temperature he would have worked himself if he had had real cause for complaint. After all, what was the nature of the complaint made against me? It was none other than that I held an opinion that a certain embargo existing between another country and Australia might well be modified. It was suggested by the honorable member that in holding that opinion I was doing something detrimental to the interests of the late Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) when, as a matter of fact, all the evidence is to the contrary. The fact of the matter is that the late Prime Minister and his Government were apparently in accord with my view, because that embargo has since been modified. As an indication that I am not alone in holding that view, I suggest to the honorable member that he should have a conference with his colleague the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), because only to-day I, as the representative in this chamber of the Minister for Commerce, was asked by him to urge upon the Government the desirability of taking action to remove this embargo against New Zealand potatoes, "with a view to rendering some protection to Australian consumers against exploitation." Obviously, I am not alone in holding the opinion of which the honorable member for Franklin complains. At this late hour, or indeed at any hour, I would not be justified in taking up the time of the House to reply to some of the misquotations of the honorable member for Franklin. They are on all fours with a statement, which appeared in a Tasmanian newspaper recently in connexion with the same incident, that I had been responsible for initiating the embargo when, as the honorable member knows, that embargo was in force five years before I came into this Parliament.

Question resolved in the negative.

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