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Wednesday, 4 April 1973
Page: 1052

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

Mr TURNER - I thank the House and present the report. These Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conferences, of which the last was the eighteenth, consist of delegates from 90-odd branches of the Association with a total membership of something like 8,000 parliamentarians who come from all parts of the Commonwealth as widely dispersed as Europe and the Mediterranean, Canada, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and Oceania, including of course Australia and New Zealand. It should not be forgotten that the Australian States also are included. The Commonwealth of Australia Branch delegation consisted of myself as leader, the Honourable F. M. Daly, M.P., now the Minister for Services and Property, as deputy leader, Senator Durack, Senator Poke, Mr B. W. Graham, M.P., and Mr A. W. James, M.P. We had the invaluable assistance of Mr John Ferguson as secretary.

At the outset I should like to pay a tribute to the host branch, Malawi, which offered us generous hospitality and afforded us every opportunity to see the country and talk with the people and, in conjunction with the SecretaryGeneral, Mr Robin Vanderfelt, and his staff, organised the conference with great efficiency. The heads of discussion at the conference were: The Commonwealth and World Security; Parliament's Role in the Modern World; Social Problems of Today and Economic Problems. Australia's delegates participated in the debates in each of these fields. Apart from the formal debates, members had very many opportunities for informal discussion with individual delegates. In regard to international affairs and the problems of security, members who attended the conference came to understand the anxiety of the Asian members to establish zones of peace in the Indian Ocean and South Bast Asia while at the same time members appreciated that these zones must be guaranteed and that until guarantees are forthcoming certain members - particularly the great trading nations - must be prepared to protect interests which are vital to their economies and their security.

Similarly, the various circumstances and factors which occasion differing stances by different nations on issues in Africa were explained in debate, lt was evident that Britain's entry in the European Common Market, which was a burning issue and a matter of recrimination a few years ago, is now a matter of tolerant understanding on the one hand and willingness to seek some mutually advantageous accommodation on the other. Delegates found a good deal of common ground in their approach to social problems. Finally, we gained a great deal from exploring with our colleagues from all over the Commonwealth the different ways and means of improving the efficiency of our parlia mentary institutions and the different paths of our common goal - democratic government in the best interests of our peoples. In broadening and deepening understanding in all these matters, we believe that this conference and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association have served and are, serving a useful function in a world in which mutual understanding is not always the most notable characteristic of all nations.

Mr Daly - I ask for leave to make a short statement in regard to the report.

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

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