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Tuesday, 5 September 1989
Page: 965


Senator TATE (Minister for Justice)(4.32) —Naturally, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Hand) has raised the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) proposals with all the State Ministers from time to time and with a number of State Premiers, I understand, in routine meetings. To be more specific, at the Australian Aboriginal Affairs Council meeting in November 1988 the AAAC passed a resolution calling on the Minister to meet with State and Territory Ministers who wished to do so and to make available members of the ATSIC task force for discussions. The Minister indicated his willingness to meet the terms of this resolution. I have to tell Senator Baume that the response of the States has been somewhat half-hearted. I know that the Minister attempted to arrange further meetings with all State Ministers after the February AAAC meetings in Canberra on deaths in custody, but apparently without success. The Minister met with representatives of two States and a Territory-New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory-in Sydney on 27 April 1989. The Minister has made every attempt to fulfil the spirit of the resolution of the AAAC meeting in November 1988. So far he has not had the meetings with the State Ministers that we might have anticipated would flow from that resolution, but not through any fault of his.