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Wednesday, 13 May 1936

Senator BROWN - In the matter of cement duties, is the Government agreeable to lay on the table the letter which it has received from Sir Geoffrey Whiskard, so that honorable senators may be fully seised of the facts? Did Sir Geoffrey Whiskard indite the letter entirely of his own volition, or was he advised to do so by the British Government? Was the British Government first approached by the Commonwealth Government?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - It is not the practice to make public communications that pass between the British and the Commonwealth Governments upon matters of policy that affect both Governments. But the Prime Minister has given the effect of this message to the House of Representatives, and I understand that the Postmaster-General (Senator A. J. McLachlan) took similar action at an earlier stage of the debate on the tariff in the Senate.

Senator BROWN - As the matter has not been discussed by the Senate and may, therefore, be regarded as sub judice, and as the Senate has not had, and according to the reply just made by the Leader of the Government, is not likely to have, the full facts placed before it, does the right honorable gentleman consider that Sir GeoffreyWhiskard acted fairly when, in a speech in Melbourne, he made definite statements in regard to the breaking of the Ottawa agreement before the Senate had had an opportunity to decide whether or not the terms of that agreement had in fact been broken?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - The Government takes no exception to the statements made in Melbourne by Sir Geoffrey Whiskard.

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