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Wednesday, 28 February 1973
Page: 34

Mr PEACOCK (KOOYONG, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for External Territories. It is related to an important matter of principle, namely, the request made by the Papua New Guinea Government for the transfer to Papua New Guinea of power over internal security. Is it correct, as reported, that the Minister has stated that he has only noted this request, and is it correct that he will transfer this power only on certain conditions, one condition being that the transfer is revocable, in other words, that the power can be returned to the Australian Government at any time prior to Papua New Guinea gaining independence?

Mr MORRISON (ST GEORGE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Science) - The honourable member will be aware that the former government, of which he was a member, stated that it envisaged processes towards -self-government being carried out with a target date of 1st December 1973, and that as part of those processes there will be a handing over of powers and authorities to the Papua New Guinea Government. At the discussions the Prime Minister and I had with the Papua New Guinea Ministers in Port Moresby a request was made to us - and we noted that request - that in part the transfer arrangements will be undertaken in the course of this year, with the same target date for self-government as prescribed by the former government, with which target we entirely agree.

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