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Thursday, 14 May 1936

Senator ABBOTT (New South Wales) . - I would not have been drawn into this debate but for certain remarks made by Senator Leckie. The honorable senator has overlooked an important aspect of this matter. He said that all the fuss to which he referred was made by an American glass company established in Belgium, simply because £50,000 worth of Belgian glass was excluded from this country. The fuss was made by the Australian primary producers on discovering that they were losing a market for meat and barley, valued at nearly £2,000,000, at a time when the Commonwealth was selling £9,000,000 worth of commodities annually to Belgium.

Senator Leckie - What was the reason for the loss of the market?

Senator ABBOTT - As a result of the embargo against the importation of Belgian glass, the Belgian Government imposed a prohibition upon Australian produce, and we had a long fight before we could prevail upon Belgium to grant us any relief. If that, in itself, does not justify a fuss being made by the primary producers' representatives in this Parliament, I do not know what does!

Senator Brown - Senator Badman has stated that Belgium is buying less Australian barley now than a few years ago.

Senator ABBOTT - In this connexion I find myself in agreement with Senator Hardy, particularly in regard to the trade negotiations with Canada, and I would not like to have to alter my views. But if anything would force me to cross the floor of this chamber, it would be remarks such as those made by Senator Leckie.

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