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Thursday, 11 November 1976
Page: 2634

Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) -The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Viner) has developed a reputation, very justifiably, for careful and analytical statement and for the recognition of the fact that no political parties can stunt in this Parliament with any veracity on the subject of the position of the Aborigines. The Minister made very serious misrepresentations. The honourable gentleman did not come down in the last shower. He was in this Parliament in 1972. If there was no vocational education for Aborigines in the Northern Territory, that was after 23 years of the previous Administration. I draw the attention of the honourable gentleman to the fact that every Aboriginal child in secondary education in Australia was put on a scholarship by the Australian Labor Party when in government and that the bilingual program was started for the first time in an attempt to communicate with them in their own languages. It could not have gone under 3 years much further than it has, the practical problems being what they were.

Yirrara College was opened and it gave vocational training. There was the extension of vocational work at Kormilda and various other colleges. We also assumed responsibility for the total funding of all mission schools in the Northern Territory, treating them as if they were State schools. These were fairly generous moves into the field of Aboriginal education. I quite agree that there are tremendous problems with vocational education among the Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory. In many areas there are problems in getting any education at all to Aborigines. It is not common for the Minister to try to score Party points on Aborigines. Our puzzles about policies on Aborigines are likely to be such that those who attempt to will usually find very great disappointments as they try to find what is the best thing to be done for a community which has a background very different from our own.

Amendment negatived.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

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