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Tuesday, 9 April 1957

Mr CASEY (La Trobe) (Minister for External Affairs) - I move - (1.) That Mr. Downer, Mr. Drummond. Mr. Joske, Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes, Mr. Lucock, Mr. Mackinnon, Mr. Timson and Mr. Wentworth be members of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs. (2.) That, until such time as the five remaining vacancies for members of the House of Reresentativeson this committee are filled by members of the Opposition, Mr. Chaney, Mr. Failes, Mr. Turner, Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Wight be members of the committee. (3.) That the foregoing resolution be communicated to the Senate by message.

Perhaps 1 might be allowed to say in explanation of this resolution that the Government is again adopting its procedure of a year ago by appointing eight permanent members and five temporary - i hope - members from our side of the House to the Foreign Affairs Committee. The temporarymembers will serve until such time as the Opposition chooses to elect its own members to the committee. It is necessary for me to say very little more on this subject. Of course, it suits the two parties supporting the Government for the present position to continue, because an appreciably greater number of our members have the privilege and opportunity of acquiring the knowledge that membership of the Foreign Affairs Committee brings with it. However, that might be regarded as a selfish interest. I believe the national interest demands that the Opposition reconsider its attitude towards membership of the Foreign Affairs Committee. I say no more on that. I do not believe it is necessary to argue the matter. I just draw to the attention of the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt) the situation as it exists and beg leave to hope that before long - I hope very soon - the Opposition will elect to join in the Foreign Affairs Committee.

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