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Thursday, 4 April 1946

Mr JOHNSON (Kalgoorlie) (Minister for the Interior) . - I do not know whether to regard some of the remarks of the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) as in. the nature of a backhanded compliment, but most of his criticism relates togovernments which were in office before the present Government came into power. The honorable member said that within the last three or four years all of his constituents have been driven out of the Northern Territory. They were driven out because governments which he supported took no steps whatever to provide for the defence of Darwin, and, consequently, when war with Japan broke out and Darwin was bombed, there was no alternative but to send them away from the place.

Mr Blain - I am speaking of the plan.

Mr JOHNSON - If the honorable member desires to cover up some of the errors of the past administrations which controlled Darwin he will not do so by scoring at my expense. He says that he is speaking of the plan. I remind him that the Government invited Mr.. McInnes, the well-known Queensland town-planner to plan a rehabilitated Darwin and to provide for the residents as many amenities as could be provided in a tropical town. Later, as the result of negotiations-

Mr Blain - Who started them?

Mr JOHNSON - I shall not be put off my track. Perhaps I am replying too effectively to the honorable member. I was about to say that later, as the result of conferences . between-

Mr Blain - Who started them?

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