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Wednesday, 1 December 1976
Page: 3079

Mr BRYANT (Wills) -The Minister for the Northern Territory (Mr Adermann) can talk at great length, but the facts are that over the years the general membership of the Northern Territory legislature, particularly the political philosophy of the membership of the present Legislative Assembly, has been the principal factor in holding back the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory. The Minister said that the Assembly would co-operate with the Government. That does not fill me with any glee. This legislation is designed to entrench the capacity of miners to mine on Aboriginal lands. It does not confer any absolute right at all. It is there until it is required to be used for something else. That has been the case with all the legislation that has come through the Legislative Council, as it was previously known, and the Legislative Assembly in the Northern Territory by proclamation, by ordinance or by any other means. I have sat here for 2 1 years now and watched the operation -

Mr Sullivan - Too long.

Mr BRYANTThatis right, and I will be here for a while yet. I might be here longer than some of the people barking over there in possum corner, as Mr Calwell used to call it. The facts are that every possible step that could be taken to stultify and frustrate the development of the rights of the Aboriginal people of Australia has emanated principally from the National Country Party, and its principal spokesmen have been people like the Minister for the Northern Territory (Mr Adermann) and the members of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, as it is now called. As I said before, this Bill is simply the continual entrenchment of vested rights, particularly in mining areas but also in pastoral areas, by the people of the Northern Territory. It is a step in the right direction but it is a very small step indeed. It does not matter what the Minister says in any form of sophistry that he happens to bring to this matter- he cannot ClOUd the issue. The facts are that unless this Parliament takes the initiative, takes up its own duties and establishes Aboriginal rights, these rights will never be protected.

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