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Thursday, 5 May 1994
Page: 288


Senator KERNOT (Leader of the Australian Democrats) (10.02 a.m.) —I want to draw attention to the formula for committee representation. It provides that the last representative on the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Native Title should come from the minority parties and Independents. The major parties have an opportunity to act monolithically through a ballot; they do not have to negotiate with each other about who gets to be their representative.

  However, the requirement on the minority parties I do not think reflects the reality of the way this chamber operates at the moment. We are asked to negotiate. The Australian Democrats and the Greens made separate and cooperative contributions to the debate on the Native Title Bill. Both Senator Chamarette and I would like to be on this committee. Under the formula that exists, how is that dilemma solved? It is not easy at all.

  I could be bloody-minded and say, `I got my nomination in first and that's that.' However, I have spoken with Senator Chamarette and I have decided to withdraw my nomination so that Senator Chamarette can be on this committee; but not because I do not think it is important for me—it is very important. It is just that I believe that I have an opportunity through the council for reconciliation, of which I am a member, to pursue the monitoring of the Native Title Bill. So, in withdrawing my nomination, in no way do I seek to exclude myself permanently from that committee should the situation change.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.