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Wednesday, 29 June 1921

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) . -The Government are aware of the generally unsatisfactory conditions prevailing in the Territory, but as hasbeen shown by the departmental administration, while Ministers have no desire to be harsh to citizens disposed to take the law into their own hands, we are determined to maintain the law, whether that law be good or bad, and whether the grievances of the residents be well or ill founded. In a country such as the Commonwealth, with constitutional means of redress always available, and with a Parliament ever alert to probe complaints regarding public grievances or disabilities, the Government cannot find justification for any individual citizen defying the law-. Senator Keating has suggested the importance of making a definite statement. The Government are not indifferent to what is transpiring in the Territory. The Minister directly responsible has recently visited that region, and will shortly return. We propose to await his return in order to obtain a first-hand account of his impressions and a direct statement relative to the condition of affairs. As soon as possible after the return of' the Minister for Home and Territories the Government will address themselves to the problem of the Territory, with a view to arriving at some final and definite policy, and will then announce that policy in the interests alike of Australia as a whole and of residents of the Territory in particular.

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