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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1866

Mr SPEAKER - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Mr WHITLAM - The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), in accordance with custom, told the Opposition that he was proposing to make a statement. I would like to take the opportunity of welcoming the visit of Mr Marshal] to Australia. From whatever Party the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand may come, it is desirable that they should confer more often than they do. I recall to honourable members that in January 1944 an Australian-New Zealand Agreement was concluded between the 2 countries. One of the provisions was: conferences of Ministers of State to be held alternately in Canberra and Wellington, it being the aim of the 2 Governments that these conferences be held at least twice a year.

I asked Foreign Minister Barwick how often there had been such meetings, and in November 1962 he said that the last formal conference was held in November 1944. I take the opportunity, therefore, to say that this Agreement, which is wide-ranging in its implications and still quite valid for the mutual interests of Australia and New Zealand which in this region are increasing, should be reactivated. I believe that meetings between the Prime Ministers of the 2 countries, whoever they may be, should be held regularly and frequently.

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