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Thursday, 13 April 1972
Page: 1074

Senator WILLESEE - Has the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories seen the statement made yesterday by Brigadier Eldridge, the retiring joint force commander in New Guinea, in which he called for the handing over of control of New Guinea's armed forces before the granting of independence to the Territory? Can the Minister inform the Senate whether the Government has determined any timetable for handing over control of the Territory's armed forces to the New Guinea authorities?

Senator WRIGHT - 1 have seen a reference to the matter and, anticipating that it might be raised here, I inform the honourable senator that the matters referred to are the responsibility of the Minister for Defence. Of course. 1 have a close interest in them as the representative in the Senate of my colleague Mr Peacock, the Minister for External Territories. AH the subjects mentioned by Brigadier Eldridge in the interview are presently the subject of close study by the Department.

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