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Thursday, 14 November 1974
Page: 2374


Senator MARRIOTT - As I have had a question put to me by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, may I have the leave of the Senate to answer it?


The PRESIDENT - No, you may frame a supplementary question but it must be relevant to the answer.


Senator MARRIOTT - Does the Leader of the Government in the Senate realise that if I were the Prime Minister of Australia, appreciating that this nation's economy was in such a shocking condition, I would not leave the country, especially when one has a Treasurer who seems to be transient and a Cabinet that is always quarrelling? Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate agree that if I were the Prime Minister, I would be right in using normal aircraft and cutting my coat according to the cloth? Will he also agree that the cloth in Australia, monetarily speaking, is pretty scarce.


Senator MURPHY -The honourable senator has put to me a question on the basis of his being the Prime Minister of Australia. I remind the Senate that I should not answer hypothetical questions. Let me stress what I said recently, although it ought to be quite evident: The Prime Minister of this country and the other Ministers must travel in the interests of Australia. We are one of the great trading nations of the world. A great deal of the prosperity, stability and security of Australia depends on the arrangements that are made with other countries. Australia, perhaps more than most other countries, is intimately tied up with the affairs of other countries. The decisions that are made overseas, whether on the purchase of sugar or meat or other arrangements with Australia, greatly affect the prosperity of this country. If the Opposition's sole contribution to the solution of Australia's problems is to say that we ought to cut off these international contacts and that our Ministers should not be trying to meet leaders of other nations or trying to enter into beneficial arrangements, whether for the purchase of our minerals or other products, and making reciprocal agreements to deal with a multitude of problems which arise from trading arrangements, from financial arrangements, from the various dealings with currency and the various problems and frictions which arise, I think it is an illustration of its incapacity to understand the problems of modern Government.







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