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Tuesday, 27 April 1999
Page: 4343

Senator BOLKUS (5:38 PM) —Thank you, Madam Acting Deputy President. When we deliberated on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Bill 1998 [1999] and the Environmental Reform (Consequential Provisions) Bill 1998 [1999] in Adelaide, we had a group of traditional owners from the Uluru-Kata Tjuta national park who came before the committee and made a presentation. Their concern was as to the bill, but it was also as to the consequential provisions bill because the consequential provisions bill changes the regime of management that currently operates especially in respect of Uluru, Kakadu and Wreck Bay but there may be others as well.

When they came to us they presented to us a painting and some Aboriginal artefacts. The request from them was that when this matter was debated, when the committee reported to the parliament, they would have liked their gifts to the Australian parliament to be presented to the parliament. As I say, there was a painting and two artefacts. They came from traditional owners Malya Teamay, Johnny Tjingo and Tony Tjamiwa and they were of importance to them. They took some time to explain to us the symbolic importance of the painting, a painting which depicted the tjukurpa which belongs to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta area and the importance of that for the traditional owners.

I think at the time of the discussion Senator Eggleston actually handled the presentation extremely well and gave an indication that the items would be presented to the Senate. I notice that in the area behind your chair, Madam Acting Deputy President—behind that barrier—those three items are now located. I think the undertaking we gave was that they would be presented into the Senate chamber, but I am sure that Senator Eggleston, when he gave that undertaking, did not anticipate that they would be hidden behind the President's chair. So I think it is important to raise the fact that they were presented to us, the fact that we gave an undertaking to have them presented to the parliament and also note that they are somewhere in the chamber.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —They were presented to the Senate, Senator, by Senator Eggleston.

Debate adjourned.