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Thursday, 9 May 1968

Mr Charles Jones (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - I direct a question to the Minister for External Affairs. Has the right honourable gentleman any information to confirm reports that the French Government has recently sent a strong armed force to New Caledonia, which is only 800 miles from the east coast of Australia? Has the right honourable gentleman any information on which he can say whether the indigenous people of this French colony are applying strong pressure on the French Government for a greater say in the affairs of their own country, with a view to complete independence at some future time? Will the Minister give honourable members an assurance that in the event of trouble between the indigenous New Caledonian people, who are striving for independence, and the French armed forces, the Australian Government will not give any assistance to those forces or permit them to use any Australian seaport or airport?

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