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Wednesday, 16 May 1973
Page: 2218


Mr PEACOCK (Kooyong) - The Opposition welcomes the motion of 'he

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Bryant) to establish a Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs. We support the concept of the Standing Committee and the terms as indicated in the notice. The honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) and I said on 15th March when speaking on the States Grants (Aboriginal Advancement) Bill that we support all measures for the advancement of the Aboriginal people and their real interest. There should be no doubt about this. We view the Committee with favour and, as we stated then, we do not seek political divisions on this question. If there are political divisions they will be of a nature that we cannot foresee at present. Our prime aim is to look for the advancement of the Aborigines themselves.

I trust that the Committee will provide information to the Australian people. I hope that the reports of the Committee and the sub-committees will be published because there is no doubt in my mind that there is a dearth of understanding in Australia of the complexities and the difficulties of the whole Aboriginal program. I do not want to go into those difficulties and the distinctions between the Aborigines themselves. The fundamental and crucial issue is to consult with Aborigines - that is the primary matter of importance. There has been insufficient consultation in the past. When there has been discussion, too frequently the information that has been forthcoming has not been fully utilised. The opportunity is now before us to evaluate the difficulties and indeed the contradictions in our own program. The Opposition, as I said at the outset, welcomes the motion.







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