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Thursday, 19 November 1959

Mr MINOGUE (West Sydney) . - I have received a request from an association of 900 members in my electorate to bring a matter before the House, and I take this opportunity to do so. On the day that members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association arrived in Canberra, question time in this House lasted only three-quarters of an hour. I thought that that was a good opportunity for me to ask the acting Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) a question on behalf of the members of this association. Its head-quarters are about half a mile from the central railway station in Sydney, and the 900 members include immigrants from all parts of the globe, particularly England, Ireland and Scotland. Many of them have recently arrived in Australia under our immigration scheme. Although they like this country and are doing quite well, the association might well be called a "wowsers' club ". It has no liquor licence or poker machine, but it tries in a charitable way to help local charities and very often assists people of Irish birth who come to Australia.

I have mentioned many times the subjectmatter of the question which I put to the acting Minister for External Affairs. It concerns the partition of Ireland. As honorable members know, among the delegates to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference was His Grace The Duke of Abercorn, Senator for Northern Ireland who is also Her Majesty's Lieutenant for County Tyrone. I thought that it would be a very good opportunity to ask my question in the presence of that distinguished gentleman. I said -

I desire to ask the acting Minister for External Affairs a question without notice. In view of the world clamour for the principle of selfdetermination to be applied to the whole of Ireland so that the opinion of the Irish people - and the Irish people alone - will decide whether partition should be abolished or retained in that country of a little more than 4,000,000 persons, will he support the efforts of the representatives of Ireland in the United Nations to have this unjustifiable division of their country submitted to a plebiscite of the 4,000,000 inhabitants?

The acting Minister for External Affairs replied to me, I think in good faith, as follows: -

Due partly to the noise in the chamber, and perhaps to a difficulty that I have with respect to languages, I did not hear all of the honorable member's question. If he will put his question on the notice-paper I will see that he receives an answer.

I forwarded a copy of my question to the Clerk so that it might be placed on the notice-paper, but he informed me that there was some difficulty in doing so. I do not know for what reason. The question related to one of the British Commonwealth countries represented at the CP .A. Conference and I felt that at least I should talk to that representative when I had the opportunity. Now, it would seem that he was the wrong person to speak to and that I should have addressed myself to the Right Honorable William Shepherd

Morrison, M.C., Q.C., ex-Speaker of the House of Commons, now Viscount Dunrossil.

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