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Wednesday, 17 November 1976

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) -The events of the last minute or two have shown the very exceptional circumstances that apply to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Bill. The fact of the matter is that there are 2 other Bills as well as that Bill now before the Parliament. The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Bill, as has been indicated by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Viner), is unusually complex. When all is said and done the Bill, which he introduced in June of this year, contains some 73 clauses. Today, by way of a second second-reading speech, the Minister has indicated his intentions to move, on behalf of the Government, some 42 amendments dealing with most complex and significant issues, some of which could be regarded as being even more important than the major tenets of the Bill itself. I do not believe that this is good enough. Here we have legislation which has been contemplated by the Parliament by the people and by the Aboriginal community over a number of years. It is just not good enough to have these important provisions sprung on us in this way.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I rise to a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. It may be that the honourable member for Hughes is unaware of the fact that the Government has acceded to the request of the Opposition that this Bill not be dealt with in the Committee stage until a later date. The fears which have been expressed by the honourable member are groundless.

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