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Friday, 1 May 1987
Page: 2432


Mr HAND(11.43) —I wish to take the time of the House to say a few things--


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Those things must be, of course, as I have warned before, on the clauses as amended, not on the full thrust of the Bill.


Mr HAND —I am talking about how we found ourselves at the end of the Committee report and the fact that the shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Connolly), called for a division when members of his Party--


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Those comments are out of order.


Mr HAND —All right. I will continue. We may talk about the amendments to the legislation. Last night I spoke in this chamber for 20 minutes. I just want to make a couple of comments today. Both at the Committee stage and in the general debate on the second reading we heard from the other side of the chamber not one reason of any substance for not proceeding with this legislation.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —The honourable member is referring to the general legislation and treating this like a second reading debate. I draw his attention to the fact that he may comment only on the clauses as amended. We have already completed the second reading debate.


Mr HAND —In regard to that, Madam Deputy Speaker, I say that, in terms of the amendments that were put forward and the clauses as amended and reported to you by the Chairman of Committees, we did not hear in the course of that discussion one real argument from either Opposition party-and within those parties both sections of the party-in opposition to those amendments. In the gallery today we have four elders of the Lake Condah community. They must surely have been wondering, when they saw the performance of the shadow Minister, who actually ran out of things to say about 10 minutes before his time had expired. The Opposition did not have an argument. It had no arguments either in this part of the debate or in the earlier stages. The shadow Minister argued that the section of the legislation we are dealing with now should have been put to the Victorian Parliament. The facts of the matter are that the Victorian Parliament considered this legislation and the Victorian lower House passed the proposals. The shadow Minister knows that the bunyips in the Opposition in the Victoria upper House got together and voted against the legislation at its second reading stage and threatened to knock it over if it went to the final stage in that place. That is why the legislation is before us; that is why amendments have been moved; and that is why we are having this debate.

The Opposition parties, which are now saying that this legislation is the property of the Victorian Parliament, know full well that their colleagues in the Victorian Parliament would not allow the legislation to proceed. We have the spectacle of the shadow Minister, the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Hawker), and the Leader of the Opposition in Victoria, roaming the countryside, particularly the western parts of Victoria, where the Bills--


Mr Shack —Madam Deputy Speaker, I take a point of order. Under the Standing Orders as they govern third reading debates, I ask you to rule the honourable member out of order.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —I point out that I have been following closely the Standing Orders relating to the third reading debates. I have drawn the attention of the honourable member for Melbourne to the fact that he may debate only clauses as amended. On this item I am allowing him the same flexibility as was allowed the honourable member for Bradfield who brought this issue up in the third reading debate. But I ask the honourable member for Melbourne now to conclude his comments.


Mr HAND —Madam Deputy Speaker, I will conclude very shortly. The point I am trying to make is that at all of the stages of this debate, particularly the debate on the amendments at the Committee stage, the Opposition in this place presented no argument. The State Opposition, some of the people at a local government level and the Opposition in this place have not presented one argument why the people who are present in this House should not have their land at Lake Condah. Not one argument was presented by the Opposition in the various stages of the debate.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Melbourne is now out of order. He is debating matters relevant to the second reading stage. They have already been debated and he is out of order.


Mr HAND —In terms of the third reading debate and the Committee stage--


Mr Connolly —Madam Deputy Speaker, I take a point of order. There is not the slightest doubt that the honourable member is transgressing your decision. It is equally clearly known, from what I said in the second reading debate, that we are not objecting to the transfer of this title--


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —The honourable member for Bradfield is out of order and the Chair is absolutely out of patience. The third reading debate is not to be used to continue a debate which has already been dealt with. Honourable members have been given every opportunity under the Standing Orders to speak during the second reading debate. I ask the honourable member for Melbourne to confine his comments strictly to the clauses. I warn him that if he again debates matters that relate to the second reading debate, the Chair will have to rule him out or order.


Mr HAND —Madam Deputy Speaker, I will hold a copy of the amendments, and I will refer to them as I make my remarks. The point that I am trying to make in response to the shadow Minister is that in all his discussions in the Committee stage he did not put up one argument as to why the amendments should not be proceeded with, other than to state that this legislation ought not to be dealt with in this Parliament. Madam Deputy Speaker, you have dealt with the right of this Parliament to deal with this question; so we have clarified that objection. I make the point again that, in terms of the substance of the amendments and the legislation, the Opposition has not presented one argument as to why the people of Lake Condah and Framlingham ought not to get this land. That is the real question. We have not heard one argument in the third reading debate relating to the matters that were discussed in the Committee stage. The Leader of the Opposition in Victoria, the shadow Minister in this Parliament and the honourable member for Wannon tried to stir the people of western Victoria into a frenzy over the sorts of things covered by these amendments. They failed miserably. They could not get people to attend meetings or to discuss the matter because the people to whom the shadow Minister referred support what the Government is on about and, quite frankly, they are disgusted with the shallowness of the arguments of the three people I have referred to. These amendments enhance the legislation and I have no difficulty in supporting them. In conclusion, I take this opportunity to say that the Opposition has been shown up for what it really is. It talks and talks about the rights of Aboriginals, it talks about how it is not opposed to them, but every time legislation comes forward the Opposition opposes it.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Melbourne is out of order.


Mr Connolly —Madam Deputy Speaker, I take a point of order. I draw your attention to standing order 66. Under that standing order I reserve the right to clarify some serious misunderstandings and misquotations which the honourable member for Melbourne has just introduced into the House. I want to state again absolutely for the record, so that there can be no question of doubt about it, that the Opposition--


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! I see that standing order 66 gives an honourable member an opportunity to seek indulgence of the Chair to make a personal explanation if he or she claims to have been misrepresented. I suggest that we are debating legislation and this is not the time to do that. Following the passage of these Bills the honourable member may seek indulgence from the Chair to make a personal explanation.


Mr Connolly —Madam Deputy Speaker, I seek your indulgence. We have virtually concluded the third reading stage of this legislation. I believe that the allegations which were made about the Opposition's policy are significantly important and quite fundamental to this issue. All I want to say in a handful of words--


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —I am sorry, the honourable member is out of order. I have to follow the tradition and the rulings of this House. The time to make a personal explanation is following the passage of these Bills. This has happened to many honourable members but I must uphold the Standing Orders.


Mr Connolly —Madam Deputy Speaker, I take a point of order. The problem is that while you quite rightly drew my attention to ranging beyond the terms of reference of a third reading debate, I am grievously concerned at the fact that the honourable member for Melbourne used his time in the third reading debate to make a speech, which had no relevance, to misinterpret the policies of the Opposition.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! There is no point of order and I suggest that the honourable member for Bradfield not reflect, even implicitly, on the rulings of the Chair.