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Thursday, 12 April 1973
Page: 1378

Mr BIRRELL (Port Adelaide) - by leave- I present the report of the Australian delegation to the 60th Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference held in Rome from 21st September to 29th September 1972. The Conference was attended by 526 members of Parliament, in addition to 184 advisers, Clerks of Parliament and group secretariats. The United Nations Organisation, the International Labour Organisation, the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and various other world groups also were represented. It is not my intention during these few remarks to canvas all of the issues which were discussed at the Conference because they are all fully covered in the report itself. However, I commend the report to honourable members and I trust that they will find time to read and study it.

I welcome the opportunity publicly to express my thanks to the other members of the Australian delegation, namely, the leader Mr Jess, Messrs Fitzpatrick and Hallett and Senators Kane, Poyser and Rae for their help and comradeship during the whole period of the Conference. I also report that the delegation played an active role in all of the deliberations of the Conference, both in the committee stages and in the Conference generally. I feel that it is fair to say that on a pro rata delegate basis Australia's contribution was at least equal to that of any other country represented.

I report to the Parliament that the Conference approved of an application from East Germany for membership of the Union. Every member of the Australian delegation voted in support of this proposal. On behalf of the delegation I express our sincere thanks to the Australian Ambassador in Rome, Mr Malcolm Booker, and to Mrs Booker for the kindness and generosity extended to lis at all times. I also wish warmly to thank the secretary of the delegation, Mr Roy Bullock, O.B.E., and the counsellor, Mr Gordon Miller, for their courtesy, help and co-operation. They both cheerfully performed many duties well outside their particular responsibilities. In fact, they appeared to work, and work extremely well, on the old basis of 'the difficult things we do immediately, but the impossible takes a little longer'. Finally, to the Parliament and the people of Italy, our host country, I extend on behalf of the whole Australian party our everlasting grateful thanks for their wonderful hospitality and for the efficient manner in which they organised and conducted the conference. I move:

That the House take note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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