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Tuesday, 14 May 1957

Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade) - I have to confess that I have no personal knowledge of the particular licence to which the honorable member has referred. If I may make a general observation in which, I think, I shall not be out of line with the thinking in the House, I expect that there should be some limit to the extent to which one should reveal particulars of private business transactions. That is not to say that, in respect of allegations of improper administration, I should not be prepared to stand up and discuss what is being done. The details of the question which the honorable member has submitted will be studied, and I shall endeavour to supply him with as much information as I can procure. But could I suggest, as a better device, in this very difficult business of import licensing, with its rough justice-

Mr Pollard - Everybody knows it is rough.

Mr McEWEN - At best, it cannot be divorced from some element of rough justice, and I would not wish to pretend that it could be so divorced by any administration. But I think it would be better, inthe interests of the people whom the honorable gentleman has in mind, if they themselves were to join with him, if they desire, and state their problem to me. I will engage to have it studied quite carefully within the limits of the financial policy authorized by the Government,, and to see what can be done to meet their position.

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