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Wednesday, 17 November 1976

Mr CALDER - This would answer the very trenchant criticism circulating around the House this evening concerning an honourable senator and myself. It was stated that we were guttersnipes or liars. But this is a letter written by a departmental official about the very petition to which we were referring. I would like to say now to the Minister that I am pleased to have received his assurance that primary industry- that takes in mining- will be adequately protected. Whether it is a matter of looking after Aborigines or whites, the Territory has to be financed, and we have the resources. These developments, as has happened in the past, have supplied money and jobs for Aborigines as well as for whites. So the hate we have heard poured out tonight by certain honourable members for mining companies and, needless to say, pastoralists is quite stupid, because when one gets into the Territory one finds that the Aborigines who might be working with the Yuendumu mining company, at Macarthur River or on a cattle station do not make these complaints. They are made by people who are advising the Aborigines what to say.

I am worried about the position of traditional owners, and it is on this point that I and my Senate colleague have taken a stand with respect to this Bill. I commend the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs on his tremendous efforts to meet all opinion- our opinion, on the one hand, and the opinion of others, on the other hand- in trying to see that Aborigines in the Northern Territory get control and correct management of what is theirs and that they do not get short changed on any mining deals. I am in favour of that, and every mining company I have seen in the Northern Territory since I can remember has said: 'We admit that there is a duty on our part to see that the Aborigines receive the correct royalty or the correct percentage of what should be their right with regard to their land '. I will not have time to go into this matter any further, but the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) in, I would hope, a humourous speech, said: 'You do not trust the Country Party, especially when it concerns Aboriginals'. I remind him of the efforts of the Legislative Assembly in regard to the permit system.

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