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Thursday, 13 October 1983
Page: 1781

Mr CAMPBELL(8.53) —It has been very interesting to sit here listening to Lucky Starr, the honourable member for Barker (Mr Porter), who has obviously been everywhere. I was rather intrigued by his visit to Walpiri. I have spent a lot of time in the Northern Territory and I have never heard of the place. I always thought that it was a language group. I think that, if the shadow Mininster looks at his diary, he will find that it is a language group and not a town or community.

I wish to address a few remarks to the speech of the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Ian Cameron). I draw the attention of the honourable member for Maranoa to a dictum from, I think, Bertrand Russell who said that treating unequals equally is just as discriminatory as it is to treat equals unequally. If he thinks about it, I am sure that even our top member for Maranoa will appreciate it. He spoke about health. He said that health in Aboriginal communities should be left to the States. I am pleased that this Budget enhances the amount of money allocated to health. I am sure it is an area that certainly needs assistance.

It is absurd for people to say things such as: 'What can you do about health when a place is overrun with dogs?' One of the functions of community health is to educate people to the health hazards that exist in the community. There is no doubt that dogs constitute a certain level of hazard but it is nothing like the level of hazard that is constituted by simply not having enough clean water. That is the case in very many Aboriginal communities. I know it is the case in my own electorate-I am sure it is repeated throughout Australia-where Aboriginals are drinking water which would be classified by any reasonable standards as not fit for human consumption. Those records are available. They are known to sundry health authorities. Yet, nothing is done.

In terms of Aboriginal advancement, I think the fact must be recognised that the Aboriginal community in his country was overrun by a more aggressive culture . I am not saying that it is a more advanced culture. It is certainly a more aggressive culture. The reality is that, if that culture feels itself sufficiently threatened, it will do it again. Aboriginal advancement must take place within the context of what is acceptable to the wider community. That will require a lot of education of that wider community, as the honourable member for Maranoa has demonstrated quite amply.

One of the things that must be achieved is land rights. I am sure that the level of finance made available in the Budget for Aborigines will help achieve this. The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Holding) has already said that we will have uniform land rights in Australia. Land rights are essential. I am appalled at the scaremongering that has taken place in my own State by Liberal National Party people about the consequences of land rights. Let us look at an illustration. If one looks at a map of Western Australia, one will see a large tract of land called the Western Desert. It is gazetted as a native reserve. If this land was handed back to the Aboriginal people with freehold title in perpetuity, as land rights would be, the main roads through that area would be excised. One would have free access, free travel, from Laverton to Alice Springs . A new and very viable tourist route would be opened up which, in turn, would have excellent ramifications for Aboriginal communities because they would be in a position to service this new industry. It is a very isolated place where it is unrealistic to expect much in the way of new industries. Some positive initiatives could be taken. It would be a far more effective way of bringing Australia together than the present divisionary system where one needs permits to go through that area. That sort of proposal has to be considered. It is one of the very positive benfits that would accrue from land rights.

However, I must say that as a socialist-and I am completely unabashed about using that term-I have the gravest misgivings about giving mineral rights to any individual.

Mr Ian Cameron —Hear, hear!

Mr CAMPBELL —I believe that mineral rights belong to the Crown. I am pleased to see that my socialist friend from Maranoa agrees with me.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Millar) —Order! I ask the honourable member for Kalgoorlie not to provoke the honourable member for Maranoa. He is difficult enough to handle when he is unexcited.

Mr CAMPBELL —I apologise, Mr Deputy Chairman. I thought I was soothing with flattery. I think that some positive initiatives can be taken in this respect, certainly where particular groups are disadvantaged. I think that mineral rights that accrue from that area could be set aside by the Government for this special benefit. I am sure that a very equitable framework can be worked out for that sort of thing. I reiterate as a socialist that I have very grave misgivings about mineral rights accruing to any individual.

I also address a few words to the subject of commercial enterprises. The reality is that there will be very little Aboriginal advancement in this country until Aboriginals are earning the sort of money that the community at large earns. Many Aboriginals live in isolated areas where it is very difficult to establish any commercial enterprises. I find it particularly depressing that successive governments have not really addressed the subject of commercial enterprises. I believe that the emu farm at Wiluna, which has had its funding slashed-originally it was slashed by the notorious razor gang and on that occasion I put some money into it to keep it afloat-has been funded inadequately ever since. The Australian Industry Development Corporation has never recognised the commercial potential of this industry. It is an industry which seeks to commercialise the emu. It is an industry in which all the technicalities of commercial emu raising have been worked out. There is no doubt at all we know how to raise emus efficiently.

What has not been addressed is the marketing aspect. We have fallen down badly in this area. No government department has ever addressed itself to the problem of marketing. This industry can be established across the whole range of low rainfall areas of Australia. It could be extended to Aboriginal communities in New South Wales, Queensland and most of Western Australia. Virtually all of Australia could benefit from development. There is a world shortage of leather. Emus could very well be a source of income in that respect that would benefit the whole of Australia. In Fremantle, we have a company called Shilkin N. & Son (Leather) Pty Ltd which, in fact, tanned emu skins from Wiluna to bind a book that was presented to Her Majesty the Queen. I think that is a tribute to the standard of the work able to be produced in Australia. This industry is under a threat. I have spoken to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. He has said that he has given instruction that no birds will be slaughtered and that the project will not be wound down any further until he has had another look at it. I hope that, arising out of that, we can get some sanity into the commercial development of Aboriginal enterprises. The emu industry is an enterprise which the private sector has looked at. I have spoken to people in the private sector who agree with me that it can be a very viable industry.

One thing concerning me is the relative lack of money that has gone to the Aboriginal legal service in Western Australia. When one looks at the number of Aboriginals in Western Australia one sees for instance, that Western Australia is not serviced anywhere near as well as Queensland is. We have areas of real problems in Western Australia. Halls Creek is a classic, and we are aware of the tragedy that has occurred at Roebourne. In these instances there has certainly been an amount of police insensitivity. This is a tragedy because in the Western Australian police force there are policemen who are very compassinate and who understand the problem. I think that the Department of Police and Emergency Services should vet its own employees to make sure that suitable people are put in these areas. I would like to name a few people in the police force who I think are outstanding, but it may cause them embarrassment if I do.

The situation at Wiluna is unfortunately not quite so good. I believe that attempts are being made by Aboriginals and white activists to stir up trouble and cause dissension in the community that does not exist. Perhaps these people do not realise that they are putting at risk an enterprise which has the potential to benefit Aboriginals right across Australia.

I was looking forward to addressing many of my remarks to immigration. I want particularly to draw attention to the remarks made by the man who must certainly be the king of the sophists, the honourable member for Denison (Mr Hodgman). He talks in here in reverent tones about Her Majesty. He was a member of a government that appointed Ransley Victor Garland to the position of High Commissioner in London. He is a man of very suspect standards. I consider it to be an absolute insult to Her Majesty.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Millar) —Order! The honourable member's time has expired .