Papua New Guinea (Gift of a Clock)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th December 1977.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale 12:00 am, 15th December 1977

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will give directions that there be presented on behalf of this House a gift of a clock for the Clerk's table to the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea and assuring Her Majesty that this House will make good the expenses attending the same. The gift to the national Parliament of Papua New Guinea follows an established and excellent tradition that we send gifts from this House of Commons to other legislatures within the Commonwealth. On 29th July 1975, in reply to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Hardy) about independence gifts to Papua New Guinea, the then Prime Minister said that Her Majesty's Government would propose that the House of Commons should offer a parliamentary gift to the Legislature of Papua New Guinea. It is that undertaking that we are now pleased to honour.

The Speaker of the Papua New Guinea House was, of course, consulted about the form of the gift and welcomed a proposal to present a clock for the Clerk's table. The clock has now been manufactured and is on display in the Upper Waiting Hall of the House where it will be available for hon. Members to inspect until 16th December. If the House accepts the motion, as I am sure it will, arrangements will, I hope, be made by you, Mr. Speaker, to send a small delegation from the House to present the gift next year.

I therefore commend the motion to the House in the expectation that it will be accepted as an expression of friendship and good will towards the Parliament of this sister Commonwealth country. I trust that I shall be speaking for the whole House in expressing our good wishes in the future to the national Parliament of Papua New Guinea.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Conservative Party

I welcome what the Leader of the House has said, and the decision to send a gift of a clock to Papua New Guinea. We do not know quite as much about these people as we normally know about new States of the Commonwealth, because until recently Papua New Guinea has been under the protective wing of Australia.

We think that the clock itself is a symbolic gift. The Papua New Guineans are a people who value the culture and traditions of the past, and until two generations or so ago they were living in exactly the same way as their ancestors had lived for many years, unaware of the technical changes about them. Perhaps the clock will remind them of that time past.

The clock will also, on the table of the new Parliament, remind the Papuans of the challenges and responsibilities of the present, and therefore the great tasks that lie before them. With this gift we wish them a very bright, prosperous and confident future.

Photo of Mr Clement Freud Mr Clement Freud , Isle of Ely

May I add my own party's expression of appreciation and approval of this gift? I wonder whether the Lord President would advise the House of the size of the delegation that will present this gift; and, in view of the close spiritual communion between the Isle of Ely and Papua New Guinea, might he perhaps consider representation by someone from that area of North Cambridge- shire which I have the privilege to represent?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Southwark Bermondsey

I am sure that we should welcome such a visit. Speaking as one who has never been to Papua, I should like to go to explain to them what the Lib-Lab pact is all about.

Photo of Sir Nicholas Fairbairn Sir Nicholas Fairbairn , Kinross and West Perthshire

When my right hon. Friend the Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) said that this was a symbolic gift and demonstrated technical changes, I wonder whether she knew how wisely her words were chosen. The clock is a very symbolic gift because its works were made in Japan. Is it not possible for the Government and the House of Commons to find a British firm to do this work, or is the job creation scheme a "job creation in Tokyo scheme"?

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will give directions that there be presented on behalf of this House a gift of a clock for the Clerk's table to the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea and assuring Her Majesty that this House will make good the expenses attending the same.

Address to be presented to Her Majesty by such Members of this House as are of Her Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council or of Her Majesty's Household.