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Thursday, 7 November 1946

Mr ABBOTT - Is it the custom of the Government of the United Kingdom to make vital decisions affecting large parts of the Empire without prior consultation with those parts of the Empire concerned ? If so, does not the Prime Minister, as Leader of the Australian Government, think that there should be an emphatic protest from this Parliament against the continuance of such a practice ?

Mr CHIFLEY - Without being familiar with all the circumstances, I should imagine that the Government of the United Kingdom has made very many important decisions without prior consultations with the dominions. In some cases decisions have had. to he made quickly, particularly during the war. My experience of the present United Kingdom Government - I cannot speak regarding previous United Kingdom Governments - is that it is most anxious to discuss with the dominion representatives all problems associated with the British Commonwealth of Nations. The recent conference of Prime Ministers covered a wide field of discussion; many matters were brought before the gathering not for decision, but in order to ascertain the views of the dominions. Those views, no doubt, to some extent, influenced the final decision reached by the United Kingdom Government. The present United Kingdom Government has been most anxious to obtain the views of all of the dominions on all matters of importance to them and to the British Commonwealth of Nations generally.

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