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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1390

Senator BONNER (QUEENSLAND) - Will the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs inform the Senate of the number of Aborigines who have enrolled for the purpose of electing the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee? Further, is the Minister aware that a number of Aborigines have enrolled because they were threatened with the loss of government assistance in the fields of education, housing and other assistance which is important to their advancement?

Senator CAVANAGH -The number of Aborigines who have enrolled was published in the Press a few days ago. The exact number escapes my memory but I see from an article on this subject that some 90 per cent of those who would be eligible to vote for the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee have enrolled. The enrolment program was conducted by the steering committee from the NACC assisted by field officers from my Department. 1 know of no occasion when an Aborigine has been forced to enrol under false pretences or because of threats that assistance would be withdrawn if they did not do so. I do not think this would ever happen. If any honourable senator can furnish proof in relation to any specific person who claims, this is happening it will be looked into.

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