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Friday, 1 July 1949

Mr JOHNSON (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for the Interior) - I point out again, as T have pointed out on previous occasions in answer to questions in this House, that responsibility for the control of the aborigines in Western Australia falls within the jurisdiction of the Western Australian Government. The Australian Government has no jurisdiction or control in association with the Native Affairs Department of Western Australia over aborigines -in that State. I know very well the area to which the honorable member has referred, and I have had no advice about the establishment of co-operative societies or schools by the natives there. From my knowledge of the district I should say that the statement that the natives have formed co-operative societies and established schools is grossly exaggerated. I' also believe the allegation that the natives were chained and taken to a gaol at Marble Bar is also exaggerated, because the natives of that area are a civilized community, and 1 am confident that there would :be no necessity to resort to the chaining of any of them. I shall, howaver, for the sake of obtaining information about the allegations, communicate with the Minister of the "Western Australian Government under whose jurisdiction the aborigines of the area come.

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