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Labor hypocrisy on Native Title -- Opposition Leader must respond to reports of two-faced WA deal.



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NEWS RELEASE

 

ATTORNEY- GENERAL

THE HON DARYL WILLIAMS AM QC MP

 

 

 

LABOR HYPOCRISY ON NATIVE TITLE

- Opposition leader must respond to reports of two-faced WA deal -

 

4 March 1999

533

 

Labor leaders Kim Beazley and Geoff Gallop must immediately respond to reports today that Labor plans a two-faced deal on Western Australia’s native title legislation.

 

It has been reported today that Labor in Western Australia will pass the Court

Government’s native title legislation but that Geoff Gallop has spoken with Kim Beazley and Labor will oppose the legislation when it is considered in the Federal Parliament.*

 

Such a two-faced and hypocritical deal is not in the interests of Western Australians or the workable operation of native title in Australia.

 

I will not comment on the content of the WA legislation as there is a process set out in the Native Title Act to ensure State schemes are consistent with the Native Title Act but clearly Labor has no concern about following appropriate processes.

 

Again Labor is revealed as having no consistent, thoughtful or appropriate approach to native title.

 

Labor’s failure to act constructively with the Federal Government on its approach to native title is a disservice to all Western Australians.

 

 

*6WF radio, 7.1 8am, Thursday 4 March 1999 (transcript attached)

 

Media contact: Nicholas Harford (02) 6277 7300

 

DATE:  MARCH 4 TH , 1999

TIME:  7.18 AM

STATION: 6WF BREAKFAST

SUBJECT: KENNEDY (EXTRACT) - NATIVE TITLE LEGIS

 

 

BUCK:

 

We spoke with Peter earlier this week and one of the hot topics was what could only be dubbed as the great unpleasantness in the WA Labor Party.  Leader Geoff Gallop has been away and while he was out of town there were a number of meetings amongst his colleagues, much speculation about the detail of those meetings and just what was the reception awaiting Mr Gallop.

Well, he arrived back yesterday but as I understand it Peter, he said he was jet-lagged and wouldn't meet any of them.

 

KENNEDY:

 

That's right Karen, the word yesterday was that he was bunkered up in his home in Victoria Park, that he wasn't speaking to his colleagues but he will emerge this morning I am told and confront some of his party backbenchers who were involved in the formulation of policies with regard to native title and also logging while he was away.

He was reportedly most annoyed at what happened, but he'll be confronting them this morning.

 

BUCK:

 

Not quite true, I suppose, to say that he wouldn't meet anybody yesterday, because as I understand it he had a chat with Kim Beazley yesterday afternoon.

 

KENNEDY:

 

That's true.  Late in the afternoon, he met up with his old friend and also the federal leader, Labor leader of course, Kim Beazley, and discussed the whole issue and it emerged that initially, while we were told that Dr Gallop was very strongly opposed to some of the tactics that were being devised - in effect behind his back - that with regard to native title, for instance, the word was that Labor's approach to native title was being softened so that effectively Richard Court's legislation would get through, and many Labor Party didn't like that idea.

Well, it's emerged that, for instance, as a very pragmatic tactic, the state Labor Party may well agree to the bulk of the Court Government's native title legislation.  However, the legislation can also be vetted in the federal parliament, and the word came out from Labor circles last night that if aspects of the legislation, as effectively passed in Western Australia, and which would get mining interests and also pastoral interests off the Labor Party's back - and remember Labor holds a lot of seats in the Goldfields and also in the Pilbara - it would get those interests of the Labor Party's back, then if the federal Labor Party, for instance, and the Democrats found those provisions to be objectionable, offensive, they could defeat them in the federal senate, and any criticism of them being defeated would switch from the WA Labor Party to the federal arena.  Very pragmatic of course, but that would be one issue that would get native title off the West Australian political agenda.

 

(end of extract . . . )

 

 

JS