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Thursday, 11 July 1946

Mr SPEAKER -Order ! The honorable member is entitled to make a personal explanation only if the Minister misrepresented anything he said.

Mr BLAIN - That is what I claim.

Mr SPEAKER - But, of course, the honorable member may not engage in u debate with the Minister on the pretext of making a personal explanation.

Mr BLAIN - I disclaim any responsibility for the indefensible act of the Government in granting such a big additional area to a lessee already possessing 10,600 square miles of land. When the Minister said that people of the Northern Territory lacked representation in this Parliament he could be referring only to me, and to my absence from Australia as a member of the 8th Division Australian Imperial Force, and to the fate which honorable members well know befell me in becoming a prisoner of war in the hands of the Japanese for three and half years. I am obliged to make this personal explanation in an endeavour to clear myself of the intolerable charge levelled against me by the Minister that an indefensible administrative act of his department occurred only because I was a member of the Australian Imperial Force, and a. prisoner of war. I am astonished that the reply of the Minister should amount to an admission that his department had performed in my absence an administrative act which would never have been attempted had I been in my place in this House.

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