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Friday, 25 November 1938

Mr McEwen n. - On the 4th November, the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) asked the following questions, upon notice: -

1.   What was the estimated number of Australian aborigines in Australia at the 30th June. 1927, and the 30th June, 1938?

2.   "What were the estimated numbers of half-castes at those dates?

3.   What was (a) the birth rate, and (6) the death rate over the past ten years for aborigines and half-castes?

4.   What is the total area available to these people to follow their native life and customs?

5.   How many are estimated to be still in their wild state?

6.   How many compounds or areas have been reserved for their exclusive use?

7.   Can he say under what conditions these exclusive compounds are open to the white man, either for prospecting or dog scalpers?

8.   In determining areas of compounds, has the Government preserved the ceremonial grounds and water holes for the use of aborigines ?

9.   How many aborigines are in the employ of white men; what is the recognized rate of pay, and in what way are they paid if not in cash?

I am now in a position to supply the following information : -

1.   30th June, 1927-49,376; 30th June, 1937 - 52,835. ( Com plete figures for the 30th June, 1938, for all States not yet available).

2.   30th June, 1927-15,462; 30th June, 1937-23,950. (Complete figures for the 30th June, 1938, for all States not yet available).

3.   This information is not available. In any case it could only be a rough estimate as large numbers of natives in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory are living under primitive conditions and not in touch with civilization.

4.   The Commonwealth Government has jurisdiction only over aborigines in the Northern Territory. Information regarding reserves for aborigines in the States is not available from any Commonwealth source. The area of the Northern Territory is 523,620 square miles. Approximately67,253 square miles have been reserved for the exclusive use of aborigines. One thousand, six hundred and nine additional square miles are leased tomissions for aborigines, while approximately 215,162 square miles are held under lease or licence and aborigines have the right tobe on these areas, to erect their wurlies and to hunt native game thereon. A further area of approximately 236,840 square miles of the territory is unoccupied and available for the full use of the natives.

5.   It is estimated that there are 26,500 nomadic aborigines in Australia.

6.   See answer to No. 4.

7.   In the NorthernTerritory entry by white men into aborigines' reserves for commercial purposes is definitely prohibited.

8.   Yes, as far as possible.

9.   On the 30th June, 1038, 3,570 aborigines of the Northern Territory were in regular em- ployment. The aborigines' regulations of the Northern Territory require a minimum paymeat at the rate of 5s. a week to each aborigine, plus food, clothing and tobacco. In rural districts, employers may be exempted from payment in cash where they are required to keep the dependants of working aborigines.

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