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Tuesday, 10 October 2006
Page: 96

Mr WAKELIN (8:57 PM) —In the two minutes I have left, I want to acknowledge a few of the comments the member for Fraser has made. I thank him for his acknowledgement of Senator Robert Hill and his integrity, and for his recognition that the Minerals Council is a responsible group working with the Indigenous community and the community at large for better outcomes. I am appreciative of the member for Fraser’s comments about Justice Evatt and that times have moved on, that we do have a stronger body of native title legislation and that state and territory legislation has moved apace over the last decade or so. In terms of the role of the government—that is, the government’s agenda, to quote the member for Fraser—at the end of the day, the national government has responsibility for this area. I believe that this legislation meets that very sensitive balance and does respect Indigenous people.

I want to go to two very important parts of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Amendment Bill 2005, where the amendments relate to loaned objects of important Australian cultural heritage held overseas. It seems to be inherently practical that this should be cleared up in this legislation. I welcome the legislation, particularly in relation to Victoria—and I am grateful because I was not aware of the history, that this had come about from a lower house and an upper house deadlock. It is the challenge of Federation to tidy these things up from time to time.

Debate interrupted.