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Aboriginal affairs

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Leader of the Opposition


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"The list of insensitive, uncaring and incompetent Labor Government actions and statements gets longer and longer", the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Andrew Peacock, said today.

"Now we have Mr Holding, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, treating the Aboriginal community with" arrogant contempt and an appalling lack of respect.

"On 13 July the Chairman of the Northern Land Council handed Mr Holding a traditional aboriginal message stick to pass to Mr Hawke.

"The message stick conveys to Mr Hawke the support of the traditional land owners in the Koongara region for their in principle agreement with the Denison mining company on the mining of uranium.

"Over a month later, Mr Holding still hasn't passed the message stick to Mr Hawke. That shows an appalling lack of respect and courtesy for the Aboriginal people.

"When asked last week why he hadn't had the decency to pass on the message stick, Mr Holding replied:

"I didn't know what it was... I thought it looked like a wooden clothes peg..."

. "That statement is offensive in the extreme.

"It is a reflection of Mr Holding’s arrogance. He is determined to stop uranium mining in the Koongara region for his own ideological reasons, and with total disregard for the wishes of the traditional land owners.

"I regard his behaviour as abhorent".

SYDNEY 18 August 1983.

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600 Phone 726994