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Tuesday, 13 June 1989
Page: 3934


Senator ZAKHAROV(11.57) —In response to Senator Crichton-Browne's speech earlier I want to say that he is reiterating what was in the dissenting report, and taking quotations out of context. I want to make it clear that, once again, Senator Crichton-Browne has quoted very selectively from the evidence, including in camera evidence. I also want to quote from two documents written by the Jawoyn people themselves. One is a report of the Jawoyn Working Party which was presented to a number of people in this Parliament late last year. I quote from the executive summary of that document, which, incidentally, was presented by at least two senior custodians and four other traditional owners. The document states:

The Jawoyn-the traditional Aboriginal owners of major areas of Stage Three of Kakadu National Park-wish to make it entirely clear to the readers of this document that we reject mining and exploration in the Sickness Country . . . Since the late 1950s our people have attempted to convince non Aboriginal people that the Gimbat region is of great spiritual significance to the Jawoyn. Jawoyn people have always maintained the importance of the Bulademo (Sickness Country). Within the traditional cultural values and beliefs of the Jawoyn, the Bulademo sites complex cannot be disturbed in any way . . . We have come to Canberra to tell the politicians that we do not want mining or exploration in the Sickness Country.

That is a fairly definite statement. Secondly, I would like to quote from a media release dated 13 June, again from the Jawoyn Working Party in response, I understand, to Senator Tambling's press release and speech. It quotes Mr Robert Lee, the Chairman of the Jawoyn Working Party, and states:

Mr Lee said that the report by Mr Cooper, ``On Shaky Ground'', had been tabled with the permission of senior Jawoyn custodians of the Sickness Country, and did not contain material offensive to them. ``Cooper's Report was all about Aboriginal views being misrepresented and distorted,'' Mr Lee said. ``Senator Tambling has shown that he would like our views to continue to be belittled and forgotten.

I had intended to respond to allegations that were made by Senator Tambling both here and in his press release, but I will leave that to another time or another method of doing so.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 12 midnight