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Address to the Young Liberal's annual convention



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, M IN ISTER FOR ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS

ADDRESS TO THE YOUNG LIBERAL"S ANNUAL CONVENTION BY THE MINISTER FOR ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS, SENATOR PETER BAUME

"The Commonwealth is seeking to provide the best context for social and community development - self-development of Aboriginals. We aim to ensure that the interests of Aboriginals are protected and that their access to services provided by

the Commonwealth, the States and Local Government is not compromised."

Senator Baume made these remarks in addressing the Annual Convention of the Young Liberals today on the possible repeal of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Acts.

"In the interests of achieving these aims, I see four essential principles to be observed. These a re:

the integrity of the present boundaries be maintained; secure tenure for occupants and the preservation of their rights to use the land; local communities to play a significant role in the management of the Reserves;

full consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders before any decisions are made.

There are many roads to heaven. As to means and detail there may be many ways to satisfy these goals. '

Without endorsing the Queensland Premier's proposal of a fifty year lease there are some observations that I can make.

Obviously we would prefer to see a perpetual lease or freehold; but a lease would still give Aboriginals security of tenure which they don't have now.

It would be an advance and a move in the right direction. I disagree with those who dismiss it out of hand as a step in the wrong direction. It is a proposal for a better situation than the present one - even if it falls short of the ideal.

Fifty years is a considerable term. Community attitudes have changed in many ways in the past fifty years. We will see even greater change in the next fifty years.

Several things are clear:

. what we, as the Commonwealth, want to see is Aboriginal advancement achieved through co-operation - by negotiation and not by confrontation.

Senator the Hon. Peter Baume

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Until it is known what the Queensland Government intends to do people should be careful about the criticisms they offer.

In the current situation there could be the potential to disagree markedly. Equally obviously there is the capacity to negotiate an agreement. Those who concentrate on the capacity for confrontation and not co-operation

simply cannot have the best interests of Aboriginals at heart.

August 1, 1981

For further details contact Mary Fisher (02) 2393160 (02) 3573781