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Wednesday, 1 December 1976

Mr VINER (Stirling) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) - This amendment is not acceptable. With a fair reading of the provisions of clause 70 and a better understanding of the operations of the Bill on the part of the Opposition, the Opposition would understand why it is necessary to allow time for the special proclamation of clause 70. I draw the attention of honourable members to the fact that clause 70 ( 1 ) provides as follows:

Except in the performance of functions under this Act or otherwise inaccordance with this Act or a law of the Northern Territory, a person shall not enter or remain on Aboriginal land.

The time that will be allowed will enable the passing of the necessary Northern Territory law as foreshadowed both by this Bill and by statements I have made in support of the Bill. The various arguments put forward by the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) can be seen, upon examination, to be quite specious. My friend the honourable member forthe Northern Territory (Mr Calder) pointed out the error of the continuing proposition of the honourable member for Hughes that it will be the Legislative Assembly which administers the rights of entry to Aboriginal land.

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is not what Woodward said.

Mr VINER -It is what the honourable member says will happen. This Parliament does not administer the laws that it passes. That is done by the departments of government or the authorities clothed with the particular function. It is clearly indicated in the statements I have made that the laws relating to entry will operate through land councils and with respect to the wishes of the clan or community councils, many of which are already established in the Northern Territory and which also will be capable of incorporation under the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Bill previously passed by the House.

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There is nothing in the Bill to that effect.

Mr VINER -That is the fact of the matter.

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There is nothing in the Bill; that is the fact of the matter.

Mr VINER - The honourable gentleman knows from the contents of the Bill and the statements I have made that what I say is correct and it will happen. I also point out to the 2 honourable members opposite, both of whom are former Ministers for Aboriginal Affairs and ought to know- if they do not, I will tell them now- that there is in existence the Social Welfare Ordinance of the Northern Territory which presently controls entry to Aboriginal land. That Ordinance will continue to operate until such time as it is superseded by a law of the Northern Territory which is passed in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act and which is acceptable to me.

Question put:

That the clause proposed to be omitted stand part of the Bill.

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