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Tuesday, 7 March 1961

Mr McEWEN (Murray) (Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Trade) . - I wish to advise the House that the Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs (Mr- Menzies) left Australia on 21st February to attend the meeting of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers in London. On his way there, the Prime Minister had discussions with President Kennedy of the United States and, as Minister for External Affairs. presided at a meeting in Geneva of the heads of Australian diplomatic missions in western Europe and adjacent areas. On his return journey he will lead the Australian delegation to the Seato Conference to be held in Bangkok from 27th to 30th March. During the Prime Minister's absence overseas I am acting in his stead, and the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) is acting as Minister for External Affairs.

I also inform the House of changes in ministerial arrangements consequent upon the resignation of Senator Sir Walter Cooper as Minister for Repatriation on 29th December, 1960. From that date, Mr. Speaker, Senator Wade became Minister for Air and Mr. Osborne relinquished that portfolio and became Minister for Repatriation. The Minister for Repatriation will represent the Minister for Air in this chamber.

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