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Thursday, 7 May 1942

Mr HOLLOWAY - Endowment has been paid in respect of very few children of half-castes who are not inmates of some institution.

Mr MARWICK - Investigations at York and Quairading will substantiate my statement. At those places families are living under the conditions I have described. The nation has shirked its responsibilities to the aborigines for too long. Instead of providing financial assistance to them in this way, the Government should construct commonages in order to enable these people to congregate in an environment similar to that which they have been used to all their life. Under such an arrangement, they could be given proper medical attention. We have been content to leave this responsibility to religious bodies; but it is time that the Government shouldered it.

Sir Frederick Stewart - Clause 13 empowers the commission'er to pay the pension direct to institutions.

Mr MARWICK - I sincerely hope that he will exercise that power in cases' of the kind I have described. I do not think that the present is an opportune time to introduce legislation of this kind. Australia is struggling for its very existence; and we shall require every available penny for expenditure on defence requirements. The attitude that Parliament should at this time worry about honouring election promises made two years ago under entirely different conditions is wholly unrealistic.

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