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Friday, 28 June 1946

Mr JOHNSON (Kalgoorlie) (Minister for the Interior) .- -Ishall bring to the notice of the respective Ministers the matters that have been raised by honorable members.

I am enthusiastically interested in. the proposal of the honorable member for Balaclava . (Mr. White) to extend the franchise as early as possible to aborigines whose education has reached such a standard that they are able to appreciate its value. Some States have already extended the franchise to a limited number of aborigines. I have had inquiries made in those States with a view to formulating a proposal, that will be acceptable to all States. The matter is well in hand, and I assure the honorable member that it will receive my' very careful attention. I hope -that aborigines who have reached a satisfactory standard will be given the franchise in the near future. Both thehonorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Blain) and the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) referred tq the construction of a. dip at Alice Springs. I explained to the House this morning that the new Administrator pf the Northern Territory, Mr. Driver, who will assume office on the 1st July, has already opened negotiations with the South Australian authorities on this subject. Mr. Driver proposes tq hold a conference between the South Australian authorities, .Commonwealth veterinary officers, and representatives of the Administration, at Alice Springs. In my Opinion, this is the proper way to approach the matter. I appreciate the fact that the proposed dip involves an imposition . 'on residents of the Northern Territory, but when I agreed to its construction following representations made to me by " the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Smith), I 'could see no likelihood of the restriction imposed, by the South. Australian Government being lifted. The honorable member for the Northern Territory and the honorable member for Indi know that there is a certain definite fattening season for cattle in the Northern Territory and that, when cattle reach the peak of their condition, they must be started on the road south. I did not want any hold-up to occur at that stage, and therefore I sanctioned the construction of the dip. I hope that the conference to be convened by the new Administrator of the Northern Territory will have the desired result.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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