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Thursday, 9 March 1972
Page: 594


Senator BYRNE (QUEENSLAND) - I direct a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. It is appropriate that I should direct it to Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson because he was the distinguished leader of a parliamentary delegation, of which I had the privilege of being a member, to the Council of Europe. It was an occasion when Australia was given the oppotunity to speak, through its delegation, at the Council of Europe. Since then we have assumed full membership of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. With that prelude, Mr President, 1 direct the following question to the Minister -


Senator Mulvihill - Give us the names of the members of the delegation.


Senator BYRNE - Senator Mulvihill was another distinguised member of the delegation, as was Senator Davidson. I ask: May I presume that the Minister is aware of the announcement by the Secretary-General of the OECD, Mr van Lennep, . that, firstly, a commission of that body will shortly be visiting Australia to make an assessment of tht Australian economy and, secondly, that the OECD will be making an assessment in the near future of the New Zealand rural economy and at a later date of the Australian rural economy?, Does the Minister not consider that art assessment of the rural economy should be made by a suitable Australian commission, as has been urged in the Parliament' and elsewhere by the Australian Democratic Labour Party over many years and which has always been resisted by the Government and the Opposition?


Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - First of all, I am grateful , to the honourable senator for the gracious compliment he extended to me fey saying that I was the distinguished leader of Australia's delegation on this occasion. So much water has passed under the bridge since then that I have almost forgotten about this matter insofar as my own personal contribution is concerned. If I may say so, I had a very distinguished all-party delegation accompanying me. We ali made stirring speeches in the plenary session. The main purpose of our contribution was directed towards aid and Australia's part in the world scene in providing aid. Some observations about this subject were also made by other countries.


Senator Gair - How much did the trip cost?


Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON -

I was in the happy position of playing a dual role in that I was the leader of the delegation and then I had to break off from the delegation to take up certain responsibilities in my capacity as Minister for Supply. I must admit that I became very ill and my wife became very ill also whilst we were in London. I had to cut my visit short in order to return to Australia.

I would like to give some thought to the question put by Senator Byrne. I think that it is a wonderful thing that a commission from the OECD is coming here. Having said that, I would like to put to study and contemplation in my own right the points raised by Senator Byrne in relation to an examination of the rural scene. I will respond to this question during the next sitting week of the Senate.







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