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Friday, 16 October 1970

Mr WHITLAM - The Prime Minister will recall telling the House nearly 2 years ago that negotiations for Australia's entry into the container shipping consortia were opened by the Minister for Trade and Industry. And he will recall saying that we would be inside all these shipping conferences which dominate our trade with Europe, the United States of America and Japan and we would participate in their management and that the information so gained would be of great value to Australia. I ask him: Was this his own view or the view of the Minister for Trade and Industry? In the light of the Government's failure to prevent recent increases in container freight and on-shore handling charges or to persuade the consortia to honour their undertakings in the matter of outports, does he now believe the view, whoever held it, was well-founded? If so, will he say in what way the situation would be different if the Government had not joined the consortia?

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