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Wednesday, 10 October 1956

Mr McMAHON - The suggestion made by the honorable member for Lyne is not a novel one. I agree with him that one of the answers to Australia's export or overseas balance of payments problem is to increase our exports, particularly exports of our primary industries. However, as to subsidies, I do not think the Government could give very much more consideration to this matter and hope to come out with a favorable reply. In the case of a country like Australia, which is perhaps the greatest trading country in the world per head of population, two things could happen: First, we might embark on a trade war with competitors who are much stronger than we, and therefore our prospects of success would be remote; and second, we could grant subsidies, but I cannot think at the present time that subsidies would be the answer to this question, particularly when we are complaining so bitterly about subsidies being given by other countries to their export industries. I assure the honorable gentleman that this problem has received very careful consideration by the Government, but it has been decided that it would not be in our best interests to follow the course of action that he suggests.

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