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Thursday, 7 October 1971
Page: 2020


Mr TURNBULL (MALLEE, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Trade and Industry. Will the right honourable gentle man cause investigations to be made with a view to ascertaining what percentage of trade commissioners representing Australia speak the language of the country in which they are stationed? In future appointments of trade commissioners will the Minister give high priority to ability on the part of trade commissioners to speak the language of the country in which they are to represent Australia?


Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Deputy Prime Minister) - When selecting a trade commissioner we do examine his various attributes. One of the important ones would be his general experience in other countries and his capacity to speak the language of the country to which he would be appointed. We encourage our commissioners to take courses in languages. We assist them in crash courses to try to familiarise them with the language of the country to which they might be posted. As to the actual number of people who can speak the language of the country to which they are posted I would have to find that out and let the honourable member know, but I fully appreciate the importance of our trade commissioners being able to converse in the native tongue of the country in which they are stationed because I believe this engenders greater confidence in relationships between them and the people.







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