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Thursday, 6 May 1965

Senator GORTON - I have received from the Minister for Territories a reply to a question asked by Senator Branson on 28th April concerning the remarks of Mr. Sidky, the retiring Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Papua and New Guinea. The reply, which I shall later forward to Senator Branson in letter form, is as follows -

I have seen press reports of Mr. Sidky's remarks. As has been stated on a number of occasions the Government is determined to ensure that the time for self-government or independence will in due course be chosen by the people of the Territory themselves. The Government will not hang back from constitutional change in Papua and New Guinea if and when it is clear that the people want it, nor will it withdraw from its responsibilities in the Territory until the people feel that they are ready to take them over. To attempt to forecast when this will be could be misleading.

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