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Tuesday, 18 April 1961

Mr HASLUCK (CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Territories) - I will not comment on Dr. Verwoerd's statement because I have not seen the authentic text of it. I will be very pleased to state on behalf of the Government the policy which we follow in Papua and New Guinea. First of all, we have declared publicly, again and again, that in our anticipation the future of Papua and New Guinea is a future in which the indigenous population, which far outnumbers the immigrant population and will be the dominant element. When we talk of self-determination we recognize quite clearly that the major factor in selfdetermination will be the indigenous population. That is the prospective situation. To turn to the current situation, we have announced on several occasions - the latest being at the opening of the Legislative Council for Papua and New Guinea last week - that we have embarked on a course of removing all forms of discrimination from the laws of the Territory. The policy directive given on that particular subject is that unless it can be definitely shown that a law is necessary either to respect the customs of the indigenous people or to protect them from injury, there is to be complete equality before the law for all inhabitants of the Territory.

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