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Friday, 25 November 1910

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) . - I had intended to speak somewhat at length with regard to the administration of Papua, but I recognise that the subject cannot be adequately discussed at this hour, and under present circumstances. I did not intend to offer any particularly adverse criticism. The sins that I should charge against the administration are rather those of omission than of commission. So far, we have very little to show for the very handsome subsidy voted on account of the Territory. While I am prepared to believe that the Administrator and his officers are doing the best possible in accordance with their ideas, I do not think that the best possible has been done in all respects. My own idea is that we should spend much more money on making good roads. Continual complaints come from Papua that it is almost impossible to get about within the Territory because there are no roads from place to place. Complaints are also made that the white people who are not officials have very little say in the affairs of the Territory, and that no attention is paid to their wishes. I have received a large amount of correspondence on this matter, and have read many official papers. I recognise that it is useless to discuss the affairs of the Territory at length on this occasion. If the Government will give a promise that during the recess, and in future, they will make inquiries and see that the wishes of the people are attended to in the future, and that something will be done in the direction of constructing more effective roads, I shall have nothing further to say at this stage.

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