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Tuesday, 23 October 1956

Mr McMAHON (LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Primary Industry) - I remember that the honorable gentleman wrote to me about this matter and that subsequently I had personal discussions with him. I have taken a great interest in it because of the amount of publicity it has received. I am glad to be able to inform him that, in -my personal opinion and in the opinion of the department, trafficking is of negligible proportions. In other words, I am firmly convinced that much more has been made of this problem than the facts justify. 1 am supported in this belief by the fact that the two Australia-wide organizations which have the greatest knowledge of these things - the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Australia and the Australian Council of Retailers - have informed me that they believe that trafficking in licences is of negligible proportions and that it is not practicable to do very much about it. I mention that because I think it should be reported to the House. The department is watching the position carefully. If it finds any evidence of trafficking, it will take what action it thinks should be taken in the interests of the country. May I say that if people do make allegations of what might be regarded as improper conduct, it is up to them to supply us with the facts so that an adequate examination of the allegations can be made?

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