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Friday, 21 June 1946

Mr CHIFLEY - I have not seen the statement to which the honorable member has referred.While I was in Great Britain I took the opportunity to meet top-ranking executives in the shipping world and discussed with them the question of shipping generally, with particular reference to the bringing of migrants to this country. They pointed out that shipping was very short of requirements, that a great number of ships had to he docked for refits of various kinds, and that many ships which had been used for the carrying of troops during the war had to be re-converted to cargo carriers. There must be a definite shortage, because the British Government first proposed to take a very large quantity of apples from this country, particularly Tasmania, but finally had to cancel the order because shipping was not available. For that reason, it reduced its original order by more than one-half. Whatever may have appeared in the Melbourne Herald, I know of the difficulties with regard to shipping as the result of my recent discussions with the representative of the various shipping interests of Great Britain. I shall look into the matter in order to see whether there is any substance in the statement.

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