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Wednesday, 28 March 2018
Page: 2376


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (12:20): The government opposes item 1 of schedule 2 in the following terms:

(1) Schedule 2, item 1, page 45 (lines 5 to 10), to be opposed.

Schedule 2 to the bill amends the Productivity Commission Act to provide for the appointment of an additional commissioner to oversee the work of the Productivity Commission in relation to the evaluation of policies and programs that have an impact on Indigenous persons. The amendment removes the proposed statutory definition of 'Indigenous person'. In the absence of a statutory definition, the expression 'Indigenous person' is intended as a composite expression to encompass Aboriginal persons and Torres Strait Islanders. The intention is that this expression takes its ordinary meaning. Based on case law, the ordinary meaning of an 'Indigenous person' is understood, as also outlined by Senator Cameron in his contribution, to be a person who is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and who is accepted as such by the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community with which the person identifies. I commend the amendment to the Senate.