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Tuesday, 23 February 1971


Senator WEBSTER - My question is addressed to the Leader of. the Government. Is it a fact, as it appears to have been reported, that the likelihood of Britain joining the European Economic Community is less today than it has been in more recent months? Does it appear that the majority of people in Britain are opposed to joining the European Economic Community? Would it appear to the Government that now is an appropriate time for the Australian Government to send to Britain a high level delegation to make known more clearly and precisely the great difficulties which would face a number of Australian primary industries should Britain's application to join the European Economic Community be approved?


Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON

I am being invited to enter, or am being drawn into, a discussion on Britain's entry into the European Economic Community. 1 want to avoid that, if 1 can, because as I and the Government have said, primarily this is a matter for decision by the British Government, lt is true to say that I - and I think all members of the delegation who were with me- discovered that there is a great divergence of views in relation to this matter, in the parliament and also throughout the electorate. For instance, we discovered that on the back benches on both sides of the chamber there were very strong advocates of Britain's non-entry and that on the front bench on both sides of the chamber, that is on the Government side and on the side of the official Opposition, there were very strong advocates of Britain's entry. A- gallup poll was conducted but this became almost impossible to interpret because of the way in which the questions were framed. The answers received were in their totality selfcontradictory and self-exhausting. So I cannot make any observations other than to say that this is a matter for Great Britain. I think thai the honourable senator's question, together with Senator Byrne's question, should be put on the notice paper for the time being.







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