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Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Page: 1467

Senator McGRATH (QueenslandAssistant Minister to the Prime Minister) (15:43): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator McGRATH: The government recognises and acknowledges the strong connection of these artefacts to the Gweagal people of New South Wales. Australian law recognises the legal title of the British Museum and Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology to these artefacts. Therefore, the government cannot agree to the motion's assertion that the Gweagal people are the legal owners of the artefacts.

It is encouraging to see institutions such as the National Museum of Australia working with UK museums to create new opportunities for access to the significant Indigenous objects held in these collections. The government understands that the British Museum has agreed to meet with Mr Kelly to discuss his claims, and it is important that these discussions occur.

Question agreed to.