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Thursday, 11 May 1972
Page: 1597

Senator McMANUS (Victoria) - The Democratic Labor Party supports the Papua New Guinea Loan (Asian Development Bank) Bill. Obviously the steps of the people of Papua New Guinea towards independence will require development, and for development capital must be available. 1 noticed that the present delegation from the Territory which is visiting Australia is holding talks with our Government about the financial question. 1 hope that those talks will be satisfactorily resolved.

Senator Gairand I today had the pleasure of meeting members of the delegation aud discussed the future with them. If those discussions can be taken as an example, Australia should have nothing to fear about the future development of that country. They impressed us with their arguments and statements. They made singular common sense. It was quite obvious that they appreciated the seriousness of the problems before them. It was obvious also that there was no desire on their part to completely cut the painter with Australia. There was a feeling that the future association between Australia and New Guinea would be for the benefit of both sides. There are people in the community who wonder about this aspect. They say, quite rightly, that New Guinea faces very serious problems in the future. I hope that the feeling of pessimism held by some people will not. be justified and I hope that the optimism expressed by others will be shown to be soundly based. I think that among the Australian people generally there is a feeling of good will towards the new nation which will come into being before long.

Finally, I want to say that 1 do not agree with Senator Keeffe that the history of Australia's association with New Guinea has been merely one of merciless exploitation. We may have made some mistakes. Most countries which had colonial territories under their control made mistakes, but my feeling is that even allowing for those mistakes, Australia has nothing to be ashamed of in what it has done to develop that Territory and to bring it to the threshhold of independence.

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