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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1404


Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - The Opposition does not oppose the addition of the new clause. I do not know whether the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Senator Cavanagh) can give us some indication as to how it has come about that this is proposed as an amendment. We assume- we would appreciate the confirmation- that this is a recommendation which comes from the House of Assembly in Papua New Guinea, as did many of the other proposals which are contained in these measures. Although I acknowledge the Minister's possible difficulties in this area, we would like to know whether there will be any form of oath or affirmation of allegiance which it is contemplated will be adopted by Papua New Guinea when it secures independence. One can see that difficulties may emerge in the light of the policy which the Government is desirous of following of appointing judges who perhaps may not be from British Commonwealth countries acknowledging allegiance to the Queen. But one would suppose that within the Territory there ought to be an oath of allegiance to the head of state, the constitution or to the government.

There does not appear to be any indication that any substitute form of allegiance is being proposed. We wonder whether we could receive some assistance from the Government on this matter. The practice as we have always understood it in this country has been that not only a member of the Parliament but also a judge swears that not only will he well and truly and faithfully serve but also will bear true allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen. I doubt very much whether there would be any suggestion that in this country those 2 propositions be changed. We appreciate that if the Territory of Papua New Guinea, approaching independence, wishes to change the form of the oath, we will accord with its wishes. The interest which we have at the present time, before independence has arrived, is whether there is intended to be any form of allegiance whatsoever.







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