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Wednesday, 21 October 1964


Senator MATTNER (South Australia) . - I have been drawn into the debate on Division No. 896 - Miscellaneous Services^ - by some remarks that have been made by honorable senators. I believe that in our desire on both sides of the chamber to see that the people of Australia do the right thing by the people of Papua and New Guinea, we have some rather mixed ideas. This is good because I would hope that flowing from our different ideas, we might possibly give greater assistance to the people of. the Territory. However, that assistance must come first from the taxpayers of Australia. We have heard Senator Cohen advocate that we should spend millions of additional pounds for university education alone. Senator Cohen is honest and fair and I believe he would be the first to say on the hustings that we have to raise extra money by way of taxes if we arc to provide additional amenities for the Territory.

The honorable senator mentioned Sir Hugh Foot. I have met the gentleman and I believe that he is honest in his views and his beliefs but while Senator Cohen praised Sir Hugh Foot to the skies, there are others who have quite a different attitude to him. In fact, I have read in important papers that Sir Hugh Foot, in their view, has successfully liquidated much of an empire. 1 want honorable senators to pause on that thought. I ask them to consider what has been done in the name of Sir Hugh Foot. I saw only recently that he was to be promoted by the Labour Party in the United Kingdom. I hope that if he goes to the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations will receive some consideration.

Let us consider the Foot report on Papua and New Guinea. When Sir Hugh Foot was asked whether he bad visited certain areas in Papua - and this has a bearing on the question - he said he had not done so. When he was asked whether he had been to other areas in New Guinea, he said: " No ". Honorable senators have had the benefit of touring many of the areas.

I am sorry that Senator Cant misunderstood me when I interjected. I was wrong in interjecting during his speech but actually I was agreeing with him because I thought that -much of what he said was correct. The point I was trying to make when I rudely interjected was that Senator Cant was saying, in effect, that good progress was being made with primary and secondary education and I agreed with him. I thought he was giving a fair account of what was being done. He spoke of the. difficulties and what he hoped would be done.

Senator Cohengave the Government the greatest pat on the back it has ever had in this connection when he said that we must have a university in the Territory and added, in effect: " Let us have it at once ". Senator Cohen is a learned man. He has had the benefit of a university education and when he makes such a statement, he does so with full knowledge of its import. He is so much a man of the world that when he said: " Let us have a university there at once ", be did not intend that a university in the

Territory should be a white elephant. He intended to fill it with students and that implies that he believes the Administration has done an extraordinarily good job by providing the people of the Territory with sufficient education to allow them to walk into a university tomorrow as undergraduates. This was a great tributes - perhaps unintentional but well deserved - to what the Government has done for primary and secondary education in the Territory.

Senator Dittmerreferred to an economic survey by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. I pay a tribute to the Government for what it has done in that connection, but irrespective of economic surveys and all the ideas that honorable senators may have about how the Territory is to be built up, an important fact is that the Australian Government has ensured that the natives of the Territory have not been stripped of their land tenure rights. I give the Government credit for this. I believe the Government, as representative of the people of Australia, is doing an extraordinarily good job in the Territory.

There is one thing I would like to hear and I believe Senator Dittmer would agree with me. I would like to hear the United Nations admit that Australia has done a very good job with its trusteeship in the Territory. I would also like to hear the United Nations admit that Australia has done the best it could with its limited resources, and will continue to do in the future for the Territory as we see it. It is up to the United Nations to grant Australia and the people of the Territory the sinews that will enable them to bring out all the latent possibilities of the Territory.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN -

Order! I remind honorable senators that the Committee is discussing proposed votes and that they should direct their remarks to questions concerning proposed items of expenditure. We have heard too many second reading speeches. If honorable senators continue along those lines, they will not have sufficient time to deal with these important estimates adequately. I ask honorable senators to concentrate on questions, relating to the estimates that are before the Committee.







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