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Tuesday, 26 August 1980
Page: 689

Mr VINER (Stirling) (Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs) - For the information of honourable members I present the report of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs on the social impact of uranium mining on the Aborigines of the Northern Territory, together with the text of a statement by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs relating to the report.

Mr West - Mr Speaker, I would like to take a point of order. I draw your attention to the way in which a very important paper by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Affairs, dealing with the way in which uranium mining and the payment to Aborigines of royalties derived from that mining, is being handled. I ask for some support from you because this is a most important document. I have not been given access to it. I ask why this very important report was not dealt with by way of a ministerial statement in the normal way, with the shadow Minister being given the courtesy of several hours' notice and the ability to reply to it. If it is too late to do that now, perhaps I might receive an assurance from the Government and from the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs that we will receive within the next several weeks before Parliament rises, no doubt for an early election, an adequate chance to debate this very important report. Mr Speaker, I draw your attention to what has been said about this report in the Australian newspaper today.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honourable member for Cunningham will resume his seat. I have given considerable latitude to the honourable gentleman. At this time in the procedures of the House, Ministers are entitled to present papers without previous notice or leave, or anything of that kind. I have permitted the honourable member for Cunningham to make the point he did, not as a point of order but because I interpreted it as a request to the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs to see whether he could provide debating time for the matter.

Mr VINER - Mr Speaker,I am sure that if the Manager of Opposition Business were aware of the interest of the honourable member for Cunningham, he would have approached the Leader of the House (Mr Sinclair) to ask whether notice might be taken of the paper. As I understand it, that would be the appropriate procedure. If the Opposition wishes to take that course, we would be ready to accommodate it.

Motion (by Mr Sinclair) proposed:

That the House take note of the papers.

Mr SPEAKER - Is the honourable member for Cunningham moving that the debate be adjourned?

Mr West - I am willing to speak to the House about this very important matter, although I have not received notice of it.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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