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Friday, 21 June 1946

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I preface a question to the Acting Minister for External Affairs, by drawing attention to a report in yesterday's press that Australia is now without political or direct consular representation in the Netherlands East Indies. The report states that the United Spates of America has in that country a consulgeneral, two consuls, and a number of secretaries, and that Great Britain is' represented there by an accredited consulgeneral with ministerial rank, a viceconsul, and a big staff. It states also that many merchants at Batavia who are anxious to trade with Australia have great difficulty in obtaining import licences from the Dutch Economic Affairs Department. As Australia has appointed diplomatic or trade representatives to many countries with which little trade can be expected, I now ask the Minister why Australia has not appointed a representative to the Netherlands East Indies? Will he say whether the Government's inaction in this matter is in line with its policy of not having anything to do with the Netherlands East Indies?

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