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Wednesday, 27 October 1971
Page: 2569

Mr HURFORD (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I am sorry that the Prime Minister is not here to answer this question. Will the Acting Prime Minister enlighten us, as indeed the Prime Minister has failed to enlighten the nation, as to what are the specific purposes of the Prime Minister's trip to the United States and the United Kingdom other than window dressing for party political purposes? What can the Prime Minister do about Nixonomics and the European Common Market that his Treasurer and indeed the Deputy Prime Minister have failed to do in their recent journeys'? Will the Prime Minister emulate his Foreign Minister by making a naive and nationally damaging election speech in New York? Will he bring back with him a hastily drawn up FI 12 contract? Will he disabuse our minds of the suspicion that the journey is being undertaken so that the Prime Minister may escape the scrutiny of this House for 3 of the relatively few weeks that the House sits.

Mr ANTHONY - I think this is a very shabby question and it is not the sort of question that one would expect in this House when the Prime Minister is leaving on what I think is one of the most important prime ministerial trips ever made from this country. This trip is made at a time of great decision making all around the world. I believe it is an honour, firstly, that Australia should have been invited to have its Prime Minister go to Washington for personal and private discussions with the President of the United States prior to the President's visit to Peking and Moscow. I believe it is essential that the President and our Prime Minister should have the closest possible relations and a warm understanding of their mutual approach to international problems. At a time when the People's Republic of China has now been accepted into the United Nations there will be much thinking to be done. A time when Britain is about to make a decision on whether she will enter the European Economic Community is certainly a time when our Prime Minister ought to be having discussions with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. I would hope that during the time the Prime Minister is overseas he will have the wholehearted support of the Australian people in wishing him well in looking after Australia's interests both now and in the future.

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