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Thursday, 18 August 1960

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

1.   Did he some months ago, following allegations of racial and colour discrimination in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, initiate inquiries into this matter?

2.   If so, is he in a position to report to the House the result of his investigations?

Mr.Hasluck. - The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows: -

From time to time there have been allegations concerning individual cases of racial discrimination in the Territory. Each of these has been investigated. In some cases it was found that the allegation was unfounded and in some cases that an individual had acted in a way which would not be approved by the Government or by the majority of the Territory community. There has been no general inquiry into this matter, but the Government and the Administration are well aware of the necessity for eliminating discrimination wherever it exists while respecting the privacy of all persons no matter of what race they are. A full-scale survey of Territory legislation has been going on for some time to determine where discriminatory provisions exist in the laws and to remove them. The core of the problem is not to be found in policy or in the laws, but in the attitudes of residents, and if " discrimination " exists its ultimate removal can only be the result of patient education and attempts to modify social attitudes and personal prejudices.

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