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Wednesday, 26 April 1961

Mr Whitlam m asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

What requests or suggestions were made at the meeting of the Commonwealth and State Ministers on native welfare in Canberra last January for legislative and administrative action by the (a) Commonwealth, (b) Territories, and (c) States?

Mr Hasluck - The answer to the honormember's question is -

In keeping with the custom followed in respect of Federal-State ministerial conferences the records of the conference are confidential. Amongst subjects which it was suggested that the respective

Ministers might bring under the notice of their own governments for consideration were -

(1)   a statement on the meaning of the policy of assimilation and methods of advancing the policy;

(2)   a statement of further measures required to be taken either severally or in cooperation for the advancement of the policy (including housing, welfare work and education);

(3)   the consumption of alcohol by aborigines;

(4)   the legal position of persons of aboriginal race in moving from place to place in Australia, having regard to differences in law in the various States;

(5)   social service benefits;

(6)   nomadic and semi-nomadic people on the borders of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory;

(7)   Education policy;

(8)   further study and research needed in particular problems; and

(9)   exchange of information between governments.


Mr Menzies s. - On 12th April, the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark) asked me a question about proposals to build what is known as the Pioneer Highway from Bourke to the Northern Territory. I am now able to give the honorable member the following information: -

The Government has under particular and sympathetic consideration several large-scale developmental works including road development in the north which are designed to assist in the expansion of Australia's exports. Although no substantial funds can be provided from the Commonwealth Treasury during 1961 to finance these projects, the Government has indicated its willingness to do what it can to facilitate prompt detailed planning of them in association with the relevant State governments.

Proposals for a Pioneer Highway have been submitted to the Commonwealth on a number of occasions, but as we have pointed out to the sponsors, the Commonwealth's position is that it is, in the first instance, a matter for the States concerned to bring forward their proposals.

Discussions are now taking place between Commonwealth officials and officers of the States concerned on State recommendations about various road possibilities and for the purpose of exploring aspects of detailed planning. On the basis of these discussions reports will be furnished for the consideration of the State and Commonwealth Governments as to the particular roads which might be included in a mutually agreed programme of road development in the north.

Public Service.

Mr Menzies s. - On11th April, the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) asked whether consideration could be given to allowing British ex- servicemen the same benefits that apply to Australian ex-servicemen in relation to permanent appointment to the Commonwealth Public Service. I am now able to supply the following information: -

The preference provisions of the Public Service Act, to which the honorable member has referred, are part of a plan for the rehabilitation of Australian ex-servicemen, the main provisions of which were set out in the Re-establishment and Employment Act

The Government has, on a number of occasions, considered whether preference in employment should be extended to British and other exservicemen. It has decided that such preference is essentially a measure to assist in re-establishment of ex-servicemen who enlisted from Australia.

Accordingly, while certain other benefits have been extended to British ex-servicemen, they have not been granted an entitlement to preference in employment. In this regard, it is worth noting that an Australian ex-serviceman in the United Kingdom would enjoy no statutory preference for employment in that country.

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