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Wednesday, 24 September 1958

Mr TOWNLEY (DENISON, TASMANIA) (Minister for Supply) - It should first be understood that the cuts were made by the United States Government, which is quite at liberty to act in any way that it sees fit. The honorable member asked what had been done over the past few months. I do not think that anything more could have been done than has been done by the Australian Government from the very start. The Minister for Trade is one of the toughest negotiators that any government could have appearing for it, and he has been there personally making representations. In regard to the present attitude of the Government, I might say that we are doing two things. First, we are continuing to make the strongest representations that we can through our Ambassador and through our Minister for Trade, who is in the United States, to the United States Government. Secondly, as a matter of urgency, we are following up the suggestion of the United States Government that a multi-lateral agreement be reached between the other countries concerned.

I am reminded in reference to one section of the honorable member's question, that we knew about the cuts a few months ago. That was when we started to make our representations to the United States Government. They have been made strongly ever since we knew of this possibility.

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