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Tuesday, 29 March 1966

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) - by leaveI also was misrepresented in the statement which, despite difficulties, the Press reported the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) as making last night. The Prime Minister said that the Australian Labour Party had dropped, dropped, dropped - he used the triple term - a significant phrase concerning treaties from its defence policy at its Federal Conference last August. He did not state that a phrase concerning treaties in very similar terms had been inserted in the foreign affairs part of the platform at the same Conference. The only difference in wording between the two clauses is to emphasise that treaties should be kept up to date. Another section which my Leader has quoted concerning the South East Asia Treaty Organisation emphasises the fact that S.E.A.T.O. no longer deals with situations which can arise in our area. There was no difference on this issue between the statement made on S.E.A.T.O. at the earlier Conference in 1963 and that which was put in the platform in 1965. There is no difference in the wording of the platform concerning the Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States as between the earlier Conference in 1963 and the Conference in 1965. That is to say that, in all material respects, the statements in our foreign affairs platform concerning S.E.A.T.O. and A.N.Z.U.S. were the same at the earlier Conference in 1963 as they were at the Conference in 1965. The specific references concerning those named treaties were unaltered. The only change concerning treaties was to transfer the passage which the Prime Minister quoted from the defence platform to another version in the foreign affairs platform, a version which made it plain that we believe that all treaties should be kept up to date.

Mr Irwin - What about the change in the Labour Party's foreign affairs committee?

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