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Friday, 1 September 1989
Page: 789

Senator PETER BAUME(10.18) —Several things that the Minister for Justice (Senator Tate) has said require a response. First of all, the Opposition, having accepted the verdict of the Senate on the second reading, is not against any change to the Aboriginal Development Commission Act and our amendments do not seek to undo the Aboriginal Development Commission Amendment Bill clause by clause. I remind the Committee that this Bill has 20 clauses. I have very quickly gone through clauses 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17 ,18, 19 and 20. As far as the Opposition is concerned, we are not seeking to amend them; they do bring changes into the Act. So it is not correct that we are undoing it clause by clause. We are seeking, wherever we think that Aboriginal management has been unacceptably limited, to change it in those terms. The Minister has said that the Parliament sought change. He is quite correct. The Parliament did seek change, but the details and nature of that change have to be looked at by the Parliament when they are presented, and our duty in this chamber is to look at the statute, look at the clauses, and try to do the best job we can.

The Minister raised an analogy with the Institute of Aboriginal Studies and made the point that last night we proposed an amendment, which was accepted, which gave some direct ministerial control over the estimates of the Institute. He is quite correct, but the analogy is not an appropriate one. The Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies will operate independently of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission now. It is not, and never has been, a flagship, as it were, of self-management, it has been an academic institution with an academic task. It has always operated in direct relationship with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Its funding has always been departmental or direct from government. It is one of the portfolio agencies in direct relationship with the Minister. The clause to which the Committee agreed last night was an entirely appropriate clause. While it was appropriate for the Institute, we believe it is inappropriate for the Aboriginal Development Commission. I will not reiterate all the arguments, but I believe that each of the points that the Minister raised in rebuttal can in turn be rebutted. I believe that the amendment is an appropriate one.