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Wednesday, 24 May 1972
Page: 1952

Senator BONNER (QUEENSLAND) - Has the attention of the Attorney-General been drawn to an article in the Press about Aborigines in the Northern Territory who were demonstrating against a police officer? The magis trate hearing the case was reported to have said that the police officer should have fired into the group.

Senator Keeffe - That question was asked yesterday.

The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Bonner, would you resume your seat for a moment? A question in those specific terms was asked yesterday and the AttorneyGeneral answered it so this matter is well within the corporate knowledge of the Senate. You will ask your question without elaboration.

Senator BONNER - Will the AttorneyGeneral assure the Senate that this magistrate will not be allowed to sit on court cases concerning Aborigines as he seems to be prejudiced in his opinions regarding Aborigines?

Senator GREENWOOD - As I said yesterday, the Secretary of my Department - not I, as some newspapers reported - has sought a report from the magistrate concerned on the events which took place at this court hearing. I said yesterday - 1 repeat it today - that this is a serious matter because the events in which these Aborigines were alleged to have participated were of a very serious nature. As I understand the newspaper reports, after the matter had been reported to him the magistrate stood down. That, as I have said, is what the newspapers say. I repeat to Senator Bonner what I said to Senator Murphy: Until 1 have received advice, which 1 will receive in due course from the Secretary of my Department, I do not propose to say anything further on the nature of the events or what might be the future action that is involved.

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