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Friday, 1 May 1987
Page: 2435

Mr HOLDING (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs)(11.55) —in reply-I wish quickly to deal with a number of points which have been raised and I shall comply with the Chair's ruling. I should make these comments in fairness to Mr Clark, and to the shadow Minister, the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Connolly) in respect of the letter he tabled. I note that the letter is dated 26 March. I understand that after Mr Clark had expressed some concerns the Victorian Attorney-General and Minister for Planning and Environment, Mr Kennan, arranged for him to discuss those concerns with a leading Melbourne constitutional silk who has acted on many occasions for and on behalf of Aboriginal people. I understand from information supplied by Mr Kennan that that resolved many of Mr Clark's difficulties. I shall not deal with the quality of Mr Clark's language because he said some fairly uncharitable things about both the shadow Minister and about the Leader of the Opposition in Victoria.

Mr Hawker —He is even-handed.

Mr HOLDING —He is even-handed in his disapproval. I am satisfied on the statements that have been made to me by the Attorney-General of Victoria that this legislation expresses the wishes and desires of the Victorian Aboriginal community. Mr Clark previously told me that he wanted a Commonwealth title and not a Victorian title. He told me that in the presence of members of the land councils of the Northern Territory, following the course of events that occurred in the Victorian Parliament. That was then his position. To the best of my knowledge, and on the basis of information I have received from the Victorian Attorney-General, this legislation has the support of the Framlingham community. If any members of the House are in any doubt about the support of members of the Lake Condah community I point out that they are present in the Parliament. They will make perfectly clear their support for this legislation and their knowledge of support for this legislation by members of the Framlingham community. A number of the amendments which have been passed by the House address some of the points raised by the Senate Standing Committee on the Scrutiny of Bills. They also specifically deal with some of the points raised by Mr Clark.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a third time.