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Tuesday, 10 November 1953

Mr HASLUCK (CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Territories) - I have no information about these unfortunate incidents beyond what has been published already. The death of one cadet patrol officer has been confirmed. In the other case, we have at present nothing more than a statement made by natives themselves, boasting that they have killed an officer. We have not confirmed the second death. I should like to make a statement to the House in due course about the circumstances surrounding these happenings.

At this stage, I say quite emphatically that the incidents are not of the nature of a mass uprising or a concerted effort, against governmental influence in New Guinea. They occurred in the vicinity of Telefomin, which is in the far west of the trust territory of New Guinea, over towards the Dutch border, and very remote from the main centres of European influence. It is an area that is still described as not wholly under government influence. As a part of our policy of extending the area of government influence and bringing the people under the control of law and order, we have been conducting patrols in this area. Throughout the three-quarters of a century of European penetration into New Guinea, Europeans who have penetrated into new areas have from time to time encountered hostility from, the primitive and belligerent tribesmen who inhabit those areas. These incidents are of that kind. There is nothing of the nature of a mass movement or a concerted effort. They are incidents of a kind which, unfortunately, have occurred from time to time during the three-quarters of a century of European penetration into New Guinea.

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