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Wednesday, 22 August 1984
Page: 157

Senator HARRADINE —by leave-I wish to make a short statement about the matter of urgency that is before us. I believe that I have an unblemished record of support for the aspirations of Aboriginal people and that those aspirations are able to be achieved without undue pressure or manipulation. I believe that record has been shown not only within this Parliament but also outside the Parliament and, indeed, well prior to my coming to the Parliament. I do not propose at this point to tarnish that record in any way. I say what I was going to say quite deliberately, however.

I have become somewhat concerned that strains are developing within the society which could react against the desire of those who, like me, wish to see the aspirations of the Aboriginal people achieved. I consider that the way in which the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage (Interim Protection) Act was brought into this Parliament was not conducive to a proper appreciation of the concerns that are expressed not only amongst the Aboriginal people but also amongst other people who, whilst genuinely concerned about the Aboriginal people , have other considerations to bring to bear to these matters. I point particularly to the concern of those people who believe quite strongly in the principle of neodemocracy, those who believe very strongly in the principles of federalism in this nation. I feel that the States and Territories, particularly those States of Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, were not adequately consulted prior to this measure being brought before the Parliament. People can say that the horse has bolted but I believe that the horse has not yet bolted. In these circumstances, I feel that the Government should have another look at this question and undertake the appropriate consultations with those who have expressed concerns.

I wish to make a very brief comment about the imputations that have been made against Senator Chaney. I am not here to support or oppose Senator Chaney but I say in all fairness on this matter that, having seen Senator Chaney's work in the field of Aboriginal affairs, I do not think there is anyone in this chamber who would reflect on his integrity in these matters or impute unfair motives to him in that regard. The terms of the motion are:

The need for the government to repeal the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage (Interim Protection) Act because it is the wrong way to protect Aboriginal sacred sites and because of the conflict it is causing Aboriginals and governments and between State and Federal governments.

Because of these terms I propose to support the urgency motion.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Collard) —The question is that the motion of urgency as moved by Senator Chaney be agreed to.

Senator Coleman —On a point of order, Mr Acting Deputy President: That is not quite the question. The question that I put was that the business of the day be called on. I was prepared to allow Senator Harradine, by leave, to make a short statement but I believe that my motion before the Senate is the one that stands.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —My understanding, Senator Coleman, is that your motion is out of order. We are not discussing a matter of public importance. It is a motion of urgency which is before the Chair and as such the motion of urgency must be put.

Senator Coleman —If they want to take it to a vote, Mr Acting Deputy President, I will satisfy them.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —It is not a matter of anybody wanting to take it to a vote, Senator Coleman. There is a motion of urgency before the Chair.

Question put:

That the motion (Senator Chaney's) be agreed to.