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Tuesday, 25 September 1973
Page: 1437

Mr LUCOCK (Lyne) - I support the legislation being presented to the House today. It is non-controversial because basically the principles embodied in it were commenced by the previous Government. But there are one or two factors that might be worth mentioning when we are considering these Bills. I have a particular interest in Papua New Guinea because in my electorate the Taree Municipal Council in the Manning area has an association with a local governing body in Goroka. Some years ago members of the local municipal council and some private citizens visited Goroka at the time of its show and that association has continued. Two lads from Goroka have visited Taree and have attended high school there while staying with people in the district. As I have said, there is this association.

On top of that, in 1957 when I attended the United Nations I had the privilege of being a member of the fourth Trusteeship Committee which gave consideration to the various trusteeships that were granted under the auspices of the United Nations. As the honourable member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock) said, we should be reminded at this time of some of the problems and difficulties that exist in Papua New Guinea. I know that the accusation has been made against those people who say 'Hasten slowly' that they desire to keep control of these people and do not want to give them independence. I do not think that this is now a point at issue with members of either side of the House. I think we should also give some consideration to the fact that people who are stressing that they are anti-colonialist and want to give the people of Papua New Guinea independence are advocating something that is even more detrimental than colonialism, that is, pushing people or rushing people into independence before they are prepared for it. In this circumstance, surely the people who should make the ultimate decision are those to whom we are giving independence. I believe that this Government is making a mistake at the moment because it is not listening sufficiently to men like Michael Somare and other leaders in Papua New Guinea who are looking to the future with confidence but knowing that it will bring with it many difficulties and complex situations.

I was delighted to hear the remarks of the honourable member for Kooyong about Albert Maori Kiki, who is the Minister for Defence and Foreign Relations in Papua New Guinea. I attended a South Pacific Commission conference a couple of weeks ago at which he led the Papua New Guinea delegation. I was impressed with his political maturity, the way in which he handled the situation and with his presentation of the case for Papua New Guinea. At the same time he showed a wide and broad understanding of the problems of other countries in the area and also of the problems that are confronting countries like Australia and New Zealand. I felt, as I was sitting at this conference, that here was someone who could take his place in international conferences and could hold his own with any of the leaders of the communities and the nations of the world today. I have already referred to the Chief Minister of Papua New Guinea, Mr Michael Somare, and the contribution that he has made. At this time we also should have some thought of and should give congratulations to those who, in the early days, played their part in bringing Papua New Guinea and its people to the stage of development it has now reached. I refer to the Department itself, the Administration, district commissioners and all the many and varied people who, in their own way, played their part and made a contribution to the progress and development of Papua New Guinea.

The honourable member for Balaclava (Mr Whittorn) referred to the establishment of an airline in Papua New Guinea. What was said by the Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones) appears to me to be a contradiction of the Government's expressed attitude. The point was made by the honourable member for Balaclava that on the one hand the Government is saying: 'We are going to give these people and this country independence on date X irrespective of whether they want it', yet the moment those people say that they want to do something on their own, that they want to establish this airline and participate in it, this Government immediately steps in and says that they will not do it unless they do it the way the Government wants it done. I think the point was made very well by the honourable member for Balaclava when he said that this was a complete contradiction. I think it is one of the matters to which we should give very careful consideration. The fact remains that this Government has to be careful lest it create a problem in regard to independence rather than a partnership. There has been goodwill. I believe that on both sides there has been an understanding and an appreciation of the complexities and the difficulties associated with self-government. If this goodwill continues to be shown independence will occur to the advantage of the people of Papua New Guinea as well as the people of Australia.

I have much pleasure in supporting the legislation before the House. I promised the Leader of the House (Mr Daly) that I would not speak for my full time so I do not want to labour the point. But I hope, as I said, that independence will proceed to the advantage of both Australia and the people of Papua

New Guinea. I join the honourable member for Kooyong in wishing the Government of Papua New Guinea and the House of Assembly all good wishes for the future.

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