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Friday, 5 April 1946

Mr BLAIN (NORTHERN TERRITORY) - Did the Minister for the Interior read in to-day's issue of the Canberra Times a report that the Roman Catholic Bishop of Darwin had protested against the Lands Acquisition Ordinance ? His Lordship is reported to have stated that -

If the Government wants to shift me off the church property, it -will have to send a big policeman. [ propose to read an extract from a letter which I received from His Lordship as a solemn protest against the Commonwealth Government's seizure of church property In Darwin. It states -

By tha " Darwin Lands Acquisition Act " of August, 1945, the Commonwealth Government resumed absolutely 00 square miles of hind around Darwin, including all the freehold titles of this area. No more freehold title will be granted to any one. The only title of land tenure will be a 09-year leasehold.

By this bill, the Catholic Church of Darwin is deprived of all her freehold property and she is denied the faculty to acquire any other freehold property instead.

The Catholic Church owns in Darwin' nine hall-acre blocks of freehold property for church purposes.- The new bill deprives her suddenly of this property.

As Bishop of Darwin, and in the name of the Catholic Church, I raise a most solemn protest against this way of dealing, which is unjust towards the church and most damaging to her work and independence.

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