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Thursday, 23 March 1972
Page: 846

Senator BONNER (QUEENSLAND) - Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior been drawn to an article which appeared in this morning's "Canberra Times' and which criticised the Government's refusal to help Aborigines in the Northern Territory to testify at an inquiry into health services in the Territory? Will the Minister instigate inquiries into this matter to ensure that Aborigines in the Northern Territory are given government assistance in order to make a contribution to this allimportant inquiry?

Senator COTTON (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Civil Aviation) - The Minister for the Interior rang me this morning and drew my attention to this matter, and he asked me to make certain comments if it was raised in the Senate today. He said it is a well established practice that persons who wish to appear on a voluntary basis before commissions or committees of inquiry do so on the basis that they meet their own costs of attendance but the commission or committee can arrange to hear evidence at different places to meet the convenience of people wishing to appear. The Department of the Interior will be discussing with the chairman of the board of inquiry the special arrangements which might be necessary for hearing evidence from people in remote communities. If the board of inquiry considers that it is more practicable to hear representatives from those areas at a more central point the Minister is quite sure that this will be able to be arranged.

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