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Thursday, 4 October 1984
Page: 1625

Mr PORTER —I refer the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to reports in last Saturday's Age and the Sydney Morning Herald and to proceedings in the House yesterday where the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs refused to indicate whether an unequivocal statement as to the Government's proposals for uniform land rights would be made before the election. I ask the Minister: Will the Government make a pre-election announcement about its proposals for land rights?

Mr HOLDING —Mr Speaker--

Mr Porter —Yes or no.

Mr HOLDING —The honourable member might have got away with asking young ladies yes or no when he was an undergraduate. He would be well aware of the processes which we have put in place in the preparation of land rights material. That preparation involves discussion with Aboriginal people. There is an Aboriginal Land Rights Steering Committee and it met again this morning. Work on the preparation of the principles involved in that legislation is proceeding. When that work is done and when all relevant interest groups, including all States, have been consulted we will be in a position to make a statement. I find it interesting that a shadow Minister who is so concerned about Aboriginal issues has asked only one question about them since May. That is the depth of his concern. Our policy will be announced when we are ready and not to suit the ill- contrived performances of the honourable gentlemen opposite.