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Thursday, 29 November 1973
Page: 2312


Senator LAUCKE (South Australia) - I wish to raise a matter in respect of the estimates submitted to Senate Estimates Committee E by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. In one line there is a proposed appropriation of $70,050,000 for Aboriginal advancement. The money is to be paid into the Aboriginal Advancement Trust Account. It is true that there are a number of pages of figures which give a breakdown of this huge amount. But the breakdown is not sufficiently detailed to answer the queries in the minds of honourable senators. For instance, I refer to the $1,500,000 which is provided for legal aid. I would like to know how this $ 1 ,500,000 is to be spent or has been allocated in the past. Are there legal men retained consistently to be on hand in the event of a request for legal assistance? Is the $1,500,000 provided to pay usual fees for legal advice as it may be sought. All the information we have is that $1,500,000 is being appropriated. I would like some explanation as to what constitutes legal aid and the system under which it is administered.

Further, a seeming looseness overall in this Department was exemplified by the fact that 2 different sets of explanatory notes and figures were given prior to the examination of those estimates by the Committee. In the first issue it was shown that $340,000 would be provided for turtle farming projects. In the second edition which appeared a little while afterwards this amount was shown as $700,000. 1 would like to know how it came about that within a matter of days there was such a large variation in respect to an allocation.







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