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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3136

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) am asked the Minister for Overseas Trade, upon notice, on 8 November 1977:

(   1 ) Has his attention been drawn to a report in the Manila Times Journal of '25 August 1977 that the Governor-General had agreed with the President of the Philippines at their meeting in Manila on 24 August that the Philippines and Australia would soon eliminate trade barriers for thenmutual benefit

(2)   Did the Government authorise His Excellency to make such an agreement

(3)   What steps has the Government since taken to honour this agreement between the two Heads of State.

Mr Anthony - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

Earlier this year, Sir John Kerr made a private visit to the Philippines to attend the International Law Conference. Whilst in Manila he paid a call on President Marcos and during their conversation, Sir John asked the President for his views on Philippines-Australia trade. However, Sir John offered no comments of his own on the subject and entered into no commitments.

Suggestions to the contrary seem to be based on an inaccurate newspaper report which appeared in Manila shortly after the protocol call and which was substantially reprinted in the Financial Review of 21 October 1977.

The story cited by the honourable member contains the same inaccuracy.

Home Business Scheme

Mr Macphee - Mr AntonyWhitlam asked me, as Minister representing the Attorney-General, the following question, without notice, on 25 October 1977: Is the Minister representing the Attorney-General aware that the Trade Practices Commission has recently contacted over 700 Australians about losses totalling $ 120,000 suffered by them in a fraudulent home-operated business scheme called Contra-Pac systems? Has the Commission referred to the Australian Legal Aid Office the hundreds of applications for legal aid which it has subsequently received. Can the honourable gentleman give an assurance that adequate legal assistance will be given promptly to the many people who lost their savings in this fraudulent scheme?

The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

The Australian Legal Aid Office has received a large number of applications for legal assistance under the Trade Practices Act from persons who have paid money in relation to a home-operated business venture initially known as 'Contra-Pac Systems ' and later as 'Duffs Contract Packers '. I have authorised the Director of the Australian Legal Aid Office to decide upon the applications in accordance with Section 170 of the Trade Practices Act.

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