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Wednesday, 12 May 1915

Mr KELLY (Wentworth) .- I would not have spoken but for the attitude of the Minister of Trade and Customs towards the honorable member for Echuca. When he made his half-satirical reply to the honorable member, did he realize that there is an aged woman, with one foot in the grave, who is anxiously waiting to hear what has become of her son? Does he recognise what her feelings must he, seeing that she can obtain no information from the Department? Certainly they are not a cause for merriment, or for the sneers of some honorable members opposite. I do hope that the Minister will see that the honest thing is done by this woman, who has brought a man and a soldier into the world.

Mr Tudor - All I can do is to direct attention to what has been said by the honorable member for Echuca. Could the honorable member himself do more ?

Mr KELLY - I think that in a matter so simple I could have stated that the right thing would be done. There is no difficulty in the way. But do not let us make sport of the feelings of an old woman who is anxiously awaiting tidings of her lost son. I come now to another matter. To-day the Minister of External Affairs undertook to give certain information in regard to murders in Papua. I want that information to set out the callings of the men who have been murdered by natives. Within the last month or two prospectors in Papua have suffered to an unprecedented extent at the hands of murderous natives. In my humble judgment, this is entirely due to the extraordinarily protracted delays which have occurred in bringing to trial natives accused of capital offences.

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - The Australians have neither votes nor the rights of a jury.

Mr KELLY - Quite apart from that important and pressing question, we are called upon to consider the grave position in which white settlers in Papua are now placed. I shall be obliged if the Minister will bring my request under the notice of his colleagues.

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