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Thursday, 21 May 1970

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock (LYNE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

Mr BEAZLEY(Fremantle) 12.14] - At the outset 1 would like to thank the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) for his great and typical courtesy in providing us beforehand with copies of his speech and also copies of the Waigani paper of Dr Gunther which touched off the discussion which we are having in the House today. The issue in part is the charge of improper influence by the Government on a constitutional committee. This question of influencing the indigenous members of Parliament or indigenous opinion at all in any respect is one of the difficult questions in Papua-New Guinea. One factor, I think, is the chronic and constant tendency of the expatriate community of Papua-New Guinea to overreact. In this they are very like the Europeans of Rhodesia and the Europeans of South Africa. In the tragedy surrounding South African sport at the present time there is apparently a complete inability lo see that the decisions made about Basil D'Olivera and Arthur Ashe have had their consequences outside, because the expatriate community is cut off from the mainstream of world thought. Regardless of whether or not one agrees with what the Leader of he Opposition (Mr Whitlam) had to say about plantation wages in Papua-New Guinea, the reaction of the planters can only be described as hysterical. I saw it there. Telegrams were sent to the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton). Apparently the Prime Minister is to stop the Leader of the Opposition from saying that the wages are not adequate. This is the cut-off sort of thinking that you get there.

If any honourable member wants to do a fascinating exercise I suggest that he have a look at the debates in this House on 4th July 1945, the day John Curtin died, when the first post-war statement of policy on Papua-New Guinea was submitted to the House. Then follow the debates through, especially in the speech of the late Sir Thomas White, who was then the honourable members for Balaclava, and later our High Commissioner in London. The planters began to send letters to him because indentured labour was being abolished. The whole sky was going to fall. They knew the natives but Mr Ward did not know the natives; ridiculous wage levels were being promised; it was ridiculous that there should be an interference with the question of indentured labour. The forecasts of disaster are so utterly unreal, and yet always surrounding the indigenous people of PapuaNew Guinea when one goes there are thi hysteria reactions to anything happening in the world. Each time I have been to PapuaNew Guinea there has been an explosion. The Prime Minister at the time, Sir Robert Menzies, had said in Australia that independence must come sooner or later and he favoured it sooner rather than later; a bombshell through Papua-New Guinea. Then Sir Hugh Foot went through, recommending a parliament of 100 and various other changes; another bombshell went through the expatriate community. One would have thought that by now they would realise that these are passing things and that the Papua-New Guinea community is evolving like other communities and that they should stop lacerating the nerves of the indigenous community with their infantile reactions to every criticism that is made of anything that is up there.

A very distinguished expatriate member of the Parliament is Mr Lussick who has organised the independent group of 26 in the House of Assembly and virtually handed them over to the chairmanship of Oala Oala-Rarua. Mr Lussick came before us and we were having a discussion about the future. I said to him: 'Mr Lussick, one of the things I feel that the indigenous members of the House of Assembly should be doing, instead of being encouraged to be roads and bridges members all the time, is to get around the community with a positive intention of creating national unity. Why do they not have travel rights?' He said: A lot of them are trouble makers and stirrers'. I said: 'Mr Lussick I am speaking about your colleagues in the House of Assembly', and he said: 'That does not make any difference. They are trouble makers and stirrers'. This is the attitude. I urge honourable members in this House to read a book that has just been produced by a man who for many years up there was correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Mr John Ryan. The book is called 'The Hot Land'. He said that at a meeting in Port Moresby when

Oala Oala-Rarua launched his National Party of New Guinea it had what he regarded as an extremely intelligent programme. Sitting in the audience were 2 members of the Special Branch taking notes. He indicates that in the hysteria reaction beforehand certain members of the House of Assembly who intended to attend thought better of it and did not. That is the National Party of New Guinea which then faded out. You do not encourage the formation of political parties or political thinking by members of the Special Branch taking notes. The next thing that happened was the formation of the Christian Democrats which was fundamentally a Catholic party. John Ryan describes it as starting its proceedings with the Lord's Prayer and Hail Mary - and there were members of the security branch sitting in the audience. These things may be quite innocent. The members of the security branch, for all I know, may have been interested as private citizens.

Mr Barnes - Yes.

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