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Thursday, 29 October 1970

Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) - The Opposition does not oppose this Bill. As the Minister assisting the Treasurer (Mr Lynch) stated:

This Bill seeks the approval of Parliament to the guarantee by the Commonwealth of $US4.5m, or$A4m, borrowing by the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The proceeds of the loan . . .. will assist in the financing of a major highways project in the highlands of New Guinea.

As we know, Australia is still partly responsible for the development of New Guinea. Some 2.5 million people are our responsibility, and to advance them to a more significant stage of economic development requires an infrastructure, health, education, road systems and so on and the measure that is before us now will assist us in doing this.

I regret that this sort of measure comes on at this time of the night. I might say that with the exception of a period of 3 hours I have been on deck in this place since 9 o'clock yesterday morning and I think it is rather absurd that the business of this Parliament is transacted in this way. It is a pity that measures of this kind cannot receive the sort of merit that they deserve. If Australia is regarded as having a responsibility for Papua and New Guinea I think that a measure of this sort of significance at least demands a better time for debate and a better opportunity for use to sum up its implications. However, if most honourable members feel as I do at this time of the night it is a little difficult to follow the significant ramifications of the Bill that we ought to be discussing. As I say, we offer no objection to the measure. It is necessary for the development of Papua and New Guinea, and we support it

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

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