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Thursday, 26 February 1959

Mr McEWEN (MURRAY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Trade) - The Government gave serious consideration to the question of representation at the Brussels World Fair. It was not a trade fair in the ordinary sense, and it was the opinion of the Government's advisers, both those within the government service and those to whom we turn in these publicity and trade promotional matters, that it was not the best venue on which we ought to spend such funds as we have for these purposes. May I explain the situation by reminding the House that several nations constructed buildings at the fair at Brussels at a total expenditure of more than £2,000,000 each. I think that that can be said of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Soviet Union and many other countries that were commensurable. Australia has not that kind of money, and we believe that the money that we have can be spent to much better advantage. This was more a national prestige fair than a commercial trade fair. That is why Australia was not represented there. But in the same year we had exhibitions at trade fairs in Wellington, New Zealand, at Kuala Lumpur, at Toronto, at Cologne, and in five major centres in the United Kingdom. This year we shall be represented at a number of trade fairs. I cannot say offhand where they will be, but I shall write to the honorable member and let him know.

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