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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 2038

Senator SIM (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - On 8 November I asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs for an explanation of an expression used by the Prime Minister concerning our new relations with China. Senator Withers and Senator Young sought an explanation yesterday as to the precise meaning of the expression. They were told in effect that they understood English. I again quote the Prime Minister who said:

Australia 's new aspiration is symbolised more in our relations with China than with any -

I repeat, 'any'-

.   . . other country.

I ask: Did the Prime Minister use this expression because he liked the sound of the words or does he regard the expression as being significant in explaining our new relations with China? If the expression is significant, will the Minister explain the meaning for the benefit of those whose understanding of English is less than his?

Senator WILLESEE -I do not know what was in Mr Whitlam 's mind when he made this statement. He said quite a lot of things.

Senator Sim - Why do you not find out?

Senator WILLESEE - If the honourable senator wants to find out then he should go and ask him. This morning I looked at the question that was asked yesterday by Senator Withers in case I had not treated him fairly in my answer. Senator Withers asked:

Will the Minister explain in some detail the exact meaning of the expression used by the Prime Minister.

How am I going to do that? I have my own views on our relationship with China and with all other nations. Senator Sim is not asking me for my views. He is asking me what was in the Prime Minister's mind. This is quite an impossible question to answer. I have no intention of going ahead and trying to explain each word to every honourable senator opposite.

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