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Tuesday, 26 March 1985
Page: 786


Senator MACKLIN —My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Is the Minister aware of the Burke Labor Government's latest moves in Western Australia effectively to destroy the already inadequate Aboriginal land rights legislation being introduced there? What is the Minister's response to Premier Burke's extraordinary attempt to usurp the Federal Government's proper authority in this sensitive area by introducing a new clause into its legislation, the effect of which would be to abolish all Aboriginal land rights grants if the Federal Government ever sought to assert its power to grant a reasonable level of protection for Aboriginals in this country?


Senator RYAN —I am not aware of the accuracy of the claim that Senator Macklin has made with regard to changes to the Western Australian land rights legislation but I remind him that the process of consultation going on between the Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Western Australian Government is aimed at securing agreement about the principles which should be incorporated in all land rights legislation throughout Australia. It is important to point out that the Commonwealth has not abandoned its land rights policy and we hope, by further discussion and negotiation with the State Government, to ensure that the principles set out on a number of occasions by Mr Holding as being principles that our Government would require will be implemented, either through State Government legislation or ultimately through comprehensive Federal legislation.