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Thursday, 13 October 1983
Page: 1768


Mr HOLDING (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs)(6.07) —I want quickly to correct a few points that were made. The honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Ian Cameron) is in error when he says that the only State that has a Minister for aboriginal affairs is Queensland. In fact, thankfully, all States now have Ministers for aboriginal affairs. I accept the fact that he is speaking on behalf of the National Party in opposing land rights. I understand that that is the position of members of the National Party. That being the position I would be very interested to know the position of the coalition shadow Minister on land rights. If the perception of the honourable member for Maranoa that things are all right in Queensland and that his Government stands for integrated development is correct, why is it that Aboriginals on Queensland reserves and Torres Strait Islanders do not have the same access to other government departments as the average Queenslander has? I was in the Torres Strait islands the week before last and I saw a building which purported to be a classroom for over 100 children. No professional educationist in Australia would go near it or even allow it to be used as a kennel for his dog. The problem in Queensland is that the Department of Aboriginal and Islander Affairs controls education, housing and health services.


Mr Ian Cameron —What do you want-another set of controls? You want Commonwealth control.


Mr HOLDING —No. I think the honourable gentleman was misleading the chamber when he suggested that Aborigines in Queensland are equally treated. If all Queenslanders have their educational policy determined by professional educationists-there are some excellent educationists in the Queensland education system; I would be the last to deny that-why is it that the quality and standard of education on Aboriginal reserves are determined not by the professionals in the Queensland Education Department but by Mr Killoran? Why is it, because there are a lot of skills in the relevant Department in Queensland, that the quality of the housing on Aboriginal reserves is determined not by those people who provide that service to every other section of the Queensland community, but by Mr Killoran? Why is that the case? The honourable member cannot have it both ways. In Queensland we have a situation where officers of the Health Department- -


Mr Ian Cameron —Mr Chairman, I raise a point of order.


The CHAIRMAN —Order! The Minister will resume his seat.


Mr Ian Cameron —I would like to point out to the Minister that the Aboriginal housing in Queensland is better than in any other State in Australia.


The CHAIRMAN —Order! I say to the honourable member for Maranoa that he will pay respect to the Chair and not address the Chair until he is called upon. Does the honourable member wish to raise a point of order?


Mr Ian Cameron —Yes, Mr Chairman.


The CHAIRMAN —I ask the honourable member to put it properly to the Committee.


Mr Ian Cameron —I would like to point out to the Minister that it is a fact that the Queensland Aborigines are better housed than they are in any other State in Australia.


The CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable member will please resume his seat. The honourable member should read the Standing Orders in which event he will establish that a point of view does not represent a point of order. I call the Minister.


Mr HOLDING —I do not have any doubt at all about the skills and the capacities of those who make up the professional staff of the Health Department and the Queensland health service. I want to know why, when they are concerned-as they have a duty to be concerned-about Aboriginal health, they are prevented from going into Aboriginal reserves by Mr Killyoran. That is what has occurred. Why is that? As the honourable member has talked about equal treatment, why is that the Aboriginal and Islander people of Queensland are subject to an administration--


Mr Ian Cameron —Mr Chairman, I raise a point of order. I would like to point out to the Minister that Queensland--


Mr CHAIRMAN —Order! I ask the honourable member to ensure that he is not taking a frivolous point of order.


Mr Ian Cameron —I want to point out to the Minister that Queensland is the only State in Australia that has a free hospital system for Aborigines--


The CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.


Mr Ian Cameron —along with all other Queenslanders, are able to get free hospital treatment.


The CHAIRMAN —The honourable member will now resume his seat.


Mr Ian Cameron —No other State in Australia has that system.


The CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. I warn the honourable member and make it perfectly clear that if the Committee is subjected to another frivolous point of order or unreasonable interruption the honourable member will be named. I call the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.


Mr HOLDING —I want to point out that the honourable gentleman is in error when he claims that Aboriginal people are treated equally with every other Queenslander when, in fact, they are subjected to a bureaucratic dictatorship which has to be eliminated if Aboriginal and Islander people are to have any of the rights of other Australian citizens.