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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1388

Senator HANNAN (VICTORIA) - I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate: Does he know that Dr Cairns in another place has claimed that his wheat agreement with Red China could only be for 3 years because the Chinese would deal only with a Labor government? If this claim is true, how does the Minister explain the enormous sales to China by a Liberal-Country Party Government between 1966 and 1970? If true, does the Government's obsequious acceptance of such a condition condone a serious interference by China in Australia's internal affairs? Does this condition by China amount to an external support for the present ailing Government, enable China to dictate items of policy and account for some of the extraordinary votes of this Government at the United Nations?

Senator MURPHY -I am not sure that the honourable senator has correctly quoted Dr Cairns. My own recollection is that what the honourable senator said is not exactly correct and that there was a significant departure from what Dr Cairns said. In any event the Government of China is entitled to take whatever course it wishes. If it wants to enter into contracts of a limited period it is entitled to do so. As for Australia's actions at the United Nations, we vote in the way that we think best for Australia and the rest of the world.

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