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Tuesday, 30 September 1958

Mr Cairns (YARRA, VICTORIA) s asked the acting Treasurer, upon notice -

What amount of Commonwealth Government securities was held in each year from 1940 to 1957 by (a) the Commonwealth, (b) the States as a whole, (c) local and semi-government authorities, and (d) marketing boards and stabilization funds?

Mr Menzies - On 16th September I gave the honorable member figures of the amount of Commonwealth and State debt held by " Commonwealth and State Governments and Local Semi-Government Bodies " and " Marketing Boards and Stabilization Funds " from 1940 to 1957. The further dissection of these items for which he has now asked is not available in the form sought but an alternative dissection can be provided as follows: -

Murder Case in Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

Mr Hasluck k. - On 13th August, the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) asked the following questions: -

1.   Will the Minister for Territories call for the papers relating to the withdrawal of charges of double murder against a native at Rabaul in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea?

2.   Is it a fact that at the time the charge was preferred against the native, he was, in fact, serving a twelve years' sentence for an attack upon a European woman?

3.   If the charge was levelled against the native, on what grounds was it levelled?

4.   Was the native, in fact, out of gaol at the time of the alleged offence?

5.   In any case, will the Minister call for the papers, make a review of the case and subsequently make a statement to the House setting out the whole of the circumstances?

I now supply the following answers: -

1.   It has been ascertained that the case mentioned by the honorable member concerned the murders of Carol Wright and Daniel Ng on the afternoon of 12th January, 1957, and the arrest of a native named Yambon on 26th June, 1958. The papers have been called for and examined both by myself and by officers of the Department of Territories and Attorney-General's Department.

2.   At the time the charge was preferred Yambon was serving a twelve years' sentence for indecently assaulting a European woman at Lae in 1955.

3.   Yambon was charged by the Inspector of Police at Rabaul on the basis of statements made by Yambon himself to the police.

4.   See answer to 5.

5.   As previously indicated, I have examined the papers and make the following statement based on that examination: -

At approximately 3.25 p.m. on Saturday, 12th January, 1957, two persons were murdered in the bush near Kombiu-avenue, Rabaul. They were a Chinese, named Daniel Ng Yuk Chee, aged 23 years and a girl, with whom he was keeping company, Carol Ann Wright, aged sixteen years. The presence of the bodies in the bush was reported at the Police Station, Rabaul, at about 6.45 p.m. on the day of the murder, by a native named India. The bodies had, in fact, been found by India's brother, Armae. The death of each victim was due to severe head injuries, inflicted by a sharp instrument such as a bush knife. The coronial inquiry into the deaths was opened on 16th January, 1957. Subsequent sittings were held on 31st January, 15th February, 3rd July and 23rd to 26th September, 1957. The coroner found that the deceased were murdered by some person or persons unknown. The police investigation fell into two phases - the initial investigation during which many persons were questioned but no person was charged with the murders, and a second phase, which commenced about June, 1958, and involved the close questioning of the native Yambon, who comes from the Morobe district, New Guinea, and who was convicted at

Lae on 5th September, 1955, and sentenced to twelve years' imprisonment with hard labour for indecently assaulting a woman. Yambon was serving his sentence at the Rabaul Gaol. On the day of the murder he was a member of a prison work party that was detailed to perform work, under guard, clearing grass and bush from around Administration houses at Namanula. In the light of statements made by Yambon during the second phase of the investigation, the Inspector of Police at Rabaul, charged him on 26th June, 1958, with the murders of Carol Wright and Daniel Ng. Subsequently, the Commissioner of Police at Port Moresby sought and obtained a direction from the Administrator to proceed to Rabaul to examine the matter in detail. The Commissioner reached the conclusion that, on the evidence at that stage available, the charges against the native could not be supported. He therefore directed that the charges against him should be withdrawn but that further investigations should proceed. The statements, upon which the charges against the native were based were considered by the Secretary for Law for the Territory. He gave as his opinion that what had been treated by the Rabaul police as a confession was probably not admissible in criminal proceedings and, even if it were, no weight could be attached to it. The Secretary for Law also pointed out that there was other evidence obtained in the first phase of the police investigation that did not support the charge. The investigation of the case is proceeding.

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