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Tuesday, 15 October 1985
Page: 1229

Senator COONEY(4.02) —by leave-I move:

That the Senate take note of the papers.

The reports on the Mount Allan and Gurindji land claims concern claims made in the Northern Territory by the land councils in those areas. I want to make two short points. First, in looking at the claims made by Aboriginals in the Northern Territory it has to be remembered that, bearing in mind the area of land involved, their claims are moderate, given the history of the Northern Territory and given the history of the Aboriginals in that area, which goes back well before the time of white settlement in Australia. It is often suggested these days that the claims and amounts granted on the basis of those claims are excessive. It is well to remember in reading these reports that that is not so.

The second thing I want to talk about is the representation made on behalf of the Aboriginals in respect of both these claims. I know that in the Mount Allan land claim Mr John Coldrey and Mr Hird appeared for the claimants, and Mr Ross Howie appeared in relation to the other claim. Mr Howie and Mr Coldrey come from the Victorian Bar, and they went to the Northern Territory to appear on behalf of the Aboriginals in that area. They gave up successful and lucrative practices over that time. Credit ought to be given to them, and I do so in this address.