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Thursday, 10 March 1966

Mr PETERS (Scullin) . - I join with my two fellow delegates to the conference who have just spoken in expressing my thanks to the New Zealand Government for the way it entertained delegates and for the ideal provisions it made for the holding of the conference. The trouble with the world today is that at the slightest pro vocation pieces of it fly one way or another, with consequent fragmentation of the nations and existing political entities. I do not believe that you make for the peace of the world or make the world a better place to live in by creating more and smaller political entities. For that reason, not merely should the Commonwealth of Nations be preserved but its members should endeavour to get closer together and to understand better the problems that face each of them.

There are people who, using the magic terms " nationalism " and " independence ", seek to separate themselves at the least provocation. To do that, of course, does not improve the world. Even though in this age and generation more and smaller political entities are being created under the impetus of what is called nationalism and independence, the time will come when we will have to reverse the trend and those people who have become separate will have to become united again so that they may attack the economic, social and other problems of the world in unison. They will have to attack those problems as a common force rather than as separate entities which, as well as trying to attack the problems of the age, are attacking one another.

I was very pleased to be present at this conference and to see the beautiful country of New Zealand from one end to the other. I say unhesitatingly that the leader of our delegation exercised not merely tolerance but charm in his treatment of ourselves and many delegates, both ladies and gentlemen, who met us in New Zealand. I congratulate Mr. Parkes who, despite the peculiarities not only of myself but of some of my colleagues, was able to maintain his equanimity right to the end. On this occasion even Government members of the delegation were delightful confreres in delightful conditions. We all sought to secure an end that would be in the interests of the nation of Australia that we were representing.

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