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Wednesday, 10 April 1957


Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade) - Part of the honorable member's question has been previously answered in this House by me. The Australian Government has been in consultation with the United Kingdom Government on what might arise from these proposals. Indeed, I had a number of discussions myself when I was in England a few months ago. At that stage - and I think it is probably still true - the proposals under which the United Kingdom might join a European common market area were sufficiently nebulous for it not to be possible to carry discussion to precision. We pointed out that in certain instances Australian interests could be impaired by the United Kingdom entering into such a marketing arrangement. The United Kingdom is not only aware of our interests but has declared its intention not to enter into arrangements which would impair our interests. That is a general declaration of policy which we take in good faith. But, as I said in the House the other day. in reply to a question, I think, by the honorable member for wishes; I thought there are also contractual obligations which limit the freedom of the United Kingdom Government with respect to the trade arrangement with Australia which I described last night.







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