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Thursday, 2 December 1971
Page: 4084

Mr BARNES (Mcpherson) (Minister for External Territories) - As I mentioned before, I oppose this amendment. I believe that the provisions in this Bill are quite fair and in keeping with the spirit of the report. As I pointed out to the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant), the 17 members are chosen by the House of Assembly. The 9 who make up the Administrator's Executive Council will be chosen by the Minister for External Territories on the advice of the Administrator after consultation with the Deputy Chairman who has been chosen by the Ministers. I believe this is perfectly fair. I would point out that the people of Papua New Guinea are quite reluctant to move into an area of greater responsibility without their choosing.

When these measures were introduced last July by the then Prime Minister it was a matter of great concern. There was a motion in the House of Assembly that no further constitutional changes would take place without its authority. I must remind honourable members opposite that we are sensitive to the views of the elected members of the House of Assembly, and I must point out that this is not the attitude of honourable members opposite because the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) said: 'You will have self-government in 1972. You will have independence in 1975 and the decision will be made in Canberra, not in Port Moresby.' That is the difference. It is quite extraordinary, this sort of sensitivity. The Government opposes the amendment.

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