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Thursday, 24 February 1977

Mr BRYANT ( Wills) -! present a report from the Joint Select Committee on Aboriginal Land Rights in the Northern Territory, being a report that the Committee has been unable to complete its inquiry. I move:

That the report be printed.

I would like to make two or three points about it. The Parliament appointed the Joint Committee and gave it the task of reporting by 3 1 May 1 977. We find that this is impossible. It was probably an optimistic estimate when the Committee was appointed because we had to cover an immense amount of territory to see people. The prorogation for a week has prevented us from carrying out an important part of our program. As I remarked this morning, I think we should have a close look at the prorogation procedures and determine whether what we are doing next week-that is, suspending the life of the Parliament, almost, for many important things- is necessary, bearing in mind the meaning of prorogation. I ask that the Parliament, as soon as it reconvenes, reconstitute the Committee and extend its date for reporting to 18 August 1977. The Parliament is well served by members of that Committee. They give a lot of time in faraway places. Although there is a very wide divergence of political opinion amongst its members, I am quite certain that the report which will be finally produced will be the consensus of keen minded, hard working people who will have surrendered prejudices from both sides to do something for the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory.

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