Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Queensland Aboriginals to manage their own affairs - Statement by Ian Viner, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs



Download PDFDownload PDF

QUEENSLAND ABORIGINALS TO MANAGE THEIR OWN.AFFAIRS - STATEMENT BY THE HON IAN VINER, MINISTER FOR ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS

Queensland A b o r ig in a l and Torres S t r a i t I s la n d e r communities w i l l be a ble to

manage t h e i r own a f f a i r s under th e terms o f l e g i s l a t i o n t o be drawn-up by the

Commonwealth Government, the M in i s t e r f o r A b o r ig in a l A f f a i r s , Mr Ian V in e r , s a id today. . .

The new l e g i s l a t i o n w i l l f r e e them from the p r o v is io n s o f the Queensland A b o rig in e s

and T o rre s S t r a i t Is la n d e rs Acts which g ive S ta te o f f i c i a l s o v e r r id in g powers over

reserve management. ■ / · ' . . ·

' ■ . - / - '

Mr V i n e r s a i d t h e d e c i s i o n had been t a k e n by t h e Go v er nme nt t o d a y i n a c c o r d w i t h

t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y c o n f e r r e d on i t by t h e 1967 R e f e r en du m w h i c h gave t h e

Commonweal th p o w e r t o make s p e c i a l l a w s f o r A b o r i g i n a l s w h e re t h a t i s deemed

n e c e s s a r y .

" Th e l e g i s l a t i o n " , Mr V i n e r s a i d , " w i l l p u t i n t o e f f e c t i n t h e f i r s t i n s t a n c e t h e

w i s h e s o f t h e A u r u k u n and M o r n i n g t o n I s l a n d c o m m u n i t i e s i n r e s p o n s e t o a p p e a l s f r o m

b o t h c o m m u n i t i e s t o s t o p t h e Q u e e n s l a n d G ov er nme nt t a k i n g o v e r c o n t r o l o f t h e

R e s e r v e s f r o m t h e U n i t i n g C h u r c h . The l e g i s l a t i o n w i l l , h o w e v e r , a p p l y t o a l l

A b o r i g i n a l and T o r r e s S t r a i t I s l a n d e r r e s e r v e s i n Q u e e n s l a n d .

" T h e G o v e r nm e nt i s s a t i s f i e d t h a t t h e p e o p l e o f A u r uk u n and M o r n i n g t o n I s l a n d

s t r o n g l y o pp os e t h e p r o p o s e d t a k e o v e r and t h a t t h e Q u e e n s l a n d G o v e r n m e n t ' s

d e c i s i o n was t a k e n w i t h o u t p r i o r c o n s u l t a t i o n o f A b o r i g i n a l o p i n i o n i n t h e

c o m m u n i t i e s . ·

" T h e G o ve r nm e n t has a l s o d e c i d e d t o p r o v i d e d i r e c t f i n a n c i a l s u p p o r t t o t h e

A u r u k u n and M o r n i n g t o n I s l a n d c o m m u n i t i e s a n d , i f n e c e s s a r y , t h e U n i t i n g C h u r c h ,

i n o r d e r t o m a i n t a i n a T l s e r v i c e s , i f Q u e e n s l a n d G o ve r nm e nt g r a n t s t o t h e Ch ur ch

a r e t e r m i n a t e d on 31 M a r c h . "

Mr V i n e r s a i d t h e G o v e r n m e n t ' s d e c i s i o n was based on i t s c o m mi t m e nt t o t h e "

p r i n c i p l e o f A b o r i g i n a l s e l f - m a n a g e m e n t , t h e i r r i g h t t o be as f r e e as o t h e r

A u s t r a l i a n s t o make t h e i r own d e c i s i o n s and d e t e r m i n e t h e i r own f u t u r e s , and

t h e i r r i g h t t o be f r e e o f p a t e r n a l i s t i c management o f t h e i r a f f a i r s by G ov e r n me n t.

The G o ve r nm e nt had a l s o d e c i d e d t o make f u r t h e r e f f o r t s t o d i s s u a d e t h e Q ue e n s l a nd

G o v e r n m e n t , i n t h e m e a n t i m e , f r o m p r o c e e d i n g w i t h t h e t a k e o v e r o f t h e A u r u k u n and

M o r n i n g t o n I s l a n d r e s e r v e s . ; ;

Mr V i n e r s a i d he had hoped t h a t d i s c u s s i o n s w i t h Q u e e n s l a n d M i n i s t e r s w o u l d t a k e

p l a c e t o m o r r o w ( T h u r s d a y ) b u t r e g r e t t a b l y t h e Q u e e n s l a n d M i n i s t e r s had d e c i d e d

a g a i n s t s uc h a m e e t i n g . He a d d e d : - .

" T h e Commonweal th G o ve r nm e nt r e m a i n s p r e p a r e d t o h o l d d i s c u s s i o n s w i t h Q u e e n s l a n d

M i n i s t e r s a b o u t t h e f u t u r e o f t h e s e t w o r e s e r v e s and o t h e r r e s e r v e s i n Q u e e n s l a nd . '

I have today te le x e d the A c tin g Prem ier, Mr Knox, and the M in is t e r f o r A b o rig in a l

and Is la n d A f f a i r s , Mr P o rte r , a d v is in g them o f th e Government's d e c is io n and ‘

i n v i t i n g d is c u s s io n s w ith Queensland M in is te r s .

" I t is no lo n g e r good enough f o r o f f i c i a l s and Governments to decide what is in

the best in t e r e s t s o f A b o rig in a ls . A b o rig in a ls must be f r e e o f p a t e r n a l i s t i c ,

b u re a u c ra tic c o n t r o l. A ll Commonwealth p o lic y and a c tio n is designed to th a t end.

"We b e lie v e they are ready f o r self-management, they b e lie v e i t and they are going

t o get i t . "

Canberra, ACT 22 March 1978