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Thursday, 18 October 1973
Page: 2325


Mr SPEAKER -Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


Mr HUNT - Yes. I claim to have been misrepresented by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) who, in the exchange across the table, said to me, The culprit indentifies himself, meaning that I, as the former Minister for the Interior, was in fact the culprit for not having granted land rights to Aborigines. This is a complete misrepresentation of the facts, and I wish to make the position clear by informing the House what happened in my 2-year term as Minister for the Interior. We tailored a special general purposes lease to suit the requirements of Aboriginal communities. In that time we also determined to apply to Aborigines generally the law that applied to all Australians. There is leasehold title in the Northern Territory. The Aborigines themselves were happy with this arrangement to the extent that more than 180 applications were made to a Land Board, to which I appointed 2 Aboriginal members. At the time when the former Government went out of office, 110 of those applications for leases were granted by the Land Board to Aboriginal communities, individuals and groups. These included 4 pastoral stations. Every property that has been purchased for Aborigines was either purchased or negotiated for in the time of the McMahon Government. What the present Government has succeeded in doing has frozen all mining leases, and has frozen the applications for mining leases made by Aborigines to the Land Board for hearing. The 68 applications for land that were outstanding at the time we went out of office no longer will be heard.







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