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Tuesday, 16 March 1965

Senator GORTON - The first thing I should like to say in answer to the honorable senator's question is that .there is no reason whatsoever why the Government or the Department should act on recommendations from any individual who wants to go somewhere and do some work.

Senator Cohen - But the Government sent him there.

Senator GORTON - No. With greatrespect, the Government had not asked him for recommendations.

Senator Cohen - .But the Government had paid for him to go up there.

Senator GORTON - The point is that there is no situation obtaining, nor do I think one should obtain, in which the Government's foreign affairs assistance programme depends on accepting the recommendations of any individual. It is not a matter on which a particular individual's recommendations should be binding on the Government. There is a great deal of assistance, in the field of health, being given to countries in that area and particularly, as the honorable senator will know if he has studied this matter, in combating tuberculosis and other diseases. It may be a matter of opinion whether surgery, which is what Dr. Furnell is interested in, should or should not be demonstrated; but the mere fact that a recommendation for a demonstration of surgery is not accepted does not mean that a great deal of assistance in the field of health is not being given to countries in the area.

The honorable senator asked whether Dr. Furnell had said something in particular. I am not certain of what he said, nor am I certain of what the Department replied to him, but it is a fact that the Department does require a request from a foreign government for a particular form of assistance, because it does not wish to be in the position of seeming to push on a government assistance which that government does not want. The answer to the third part of the honorable senator's question is: " No ".

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