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Friday, 17 December 1993
Page: 5010

Senator CAMPBELL (5.07 p.m.) —I was not going to speak now, but I have been provoked. I was provoked by what I consider to be gross hypocrisy by a number of honourable senators. On 28 September, Senator Chamarette gave notice of her intention to move a motion. I thought that it was a genuine indication of what Senator Chamarette wanted to do in relation to this legislation. I do not know Senator Chamarette as well as I perhaps should but, having got to know her over a few years, I am sure that she is very genuine on these issues. On 28 September, Senator Chamarette said:

I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

  (contingent on the Senate, on any day, agreeing to the first reading of any bill whose purpose is to implement the principles of the decision of the High Court decision on the Mabo case)—That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Chamarette moving a motion that the Senate invite a delegation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives from around Australia to be the first people to appear before the Bar of the Senate in this Parliament House, to address the Senate in relation to the implications of that bill for the indigenous people of Australia, at a time and day, before the bill is read a second time, to be arranged by the President, and in accordance with procedures to assist the delegation, to be provided in the resolution of invitation.

I am quite sure that Senator Chamarette's intention was to have a very serious consultation and to include the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—all of them, not just the ones who head these organisations and who are part of the negotiating committee—

Senator Collins —All of them?

Senator CAMPBELL —Yes, all of them.

Senator Collins —There are about 200,000 of them.

Senator CAMPBELL —There are actually 260,000. Senator Collins is so bright on these issues. He knows everything, does he not? The saddest thing about what has occurred, particularly in Senator Chamarette's and Senator Margett's decision not to allow the democratic processes of Australia to take place by having a detailed committee hearing into this most complicated and crucial legislation for Australia, is that there are thousands upon thousands of Aboriginal Australians whose views will not be heard. We know that when Senator Kernot goes and does her deals late at night with the Labor Party on this bill, negotiating her amendments—government amendments which were sent around hour by hour today—

Senator Tambling —Another one just arrived.

Senator CAMPBELL —There is another one. When Senator Kernot does those deals, those people get excluded from the democratic process. There are thousands upon thousands of Aboriginal people who feel very strongly about this issue. Senator Chamarette knows it, Senator Kernot knows it, we all know it. There are thousands upon thousands of other Australians with all sorts of interests, as well as normal other Australians who have a quarter acre block in the back blocks of capital cities who worry about it as well. We know better, do we not, Senator Kernot? We know that we can go around to a minister's office and negotiate a deal, cut a deal. You are meant to be the politician who does not like all these nasty—

The CHAIRMAN —Senator Campbell, would you direct your remarks through the chair.

Senator CAMPBELL —I was looking at Senator Kernot, but I was thinking of you. Senator Kernot goes on television; she is the Noelene Donaher of the Senate, looking like the lady next door—the family woman on the verandah of her house in Queensland. She is the lovable Noelene Donaher of the Senate who does not like the nasty politicians, the nasty males—Paul Keating and Dr John Hewson—who yell at each other all the time. It is a sort of reverse sexism that offends me. Senator Kernot is the one who wants to make politics all nice. She makes it nice by going around and doing little deals, and excluding people from the democratic process. The Australian Democrats were founded on the principle of including people in the political process.

Senator Kernot —And you were part of that, weren't you?

Senator CAMPBELL —That is right. I was a great supporter of the Democrats when Senator Chipp first founded them, because it appealed to my sentiments that we could include Australians in the democratic process by having ballots and ensuring that we consulted them. Here we have a crucial piece of legislation. The Democrats and the Greens are ensuring that Australians citizens are excluded. The reason they put forward is to ensure that this legislation gets put through quickly before Christmas.

Senator Kernot —Rubbish! I will stay here as long as you like to debate this.

Senator CAMPBELL —Senator Kernot says she does not want to get it through before Christmas. The opposition wants wide consultation on this matter. The Democrats and the Greens have said that the coalition wants to delay this bill so we can have this racist campaign and build up racial hatred in Australia and see the legislation fall over. That is offensive.

Senator Margetts —Five seconds ago you said that people's backyards were at risk. You are one of the people putting people at risk.

Senator CAMPBELL —I did not say anything of the kind.

Senator Margetts —You said people's backyards were at risk.

Senator Crane —Mr Chairman, I raise a point of order. That is a direct reflection on something that Senator Campbell did not say and I request that it be withdrawn.

The CHAIRMAN —It is not a point of order. It might be a debating point. I have allowed a sense of emotion to emerge in this debate thus far, but it would be helpful if we allowed the speakers to be heard in relative silence.

Senator CAMPBELL —I am quite happy to debate it. It is an emotional issue and I know that Senator Margetts feels very strongly about it. I ask her to check the Hansard. As soon as I get the pink I will deliver it to her office and I will show it to her. I never said that backyards are as risk. I referred to thousands of Aboriginals who would like to be included in the democratic process of creating a piece of legislation to deal with Mabo. I said that there are thousands of people involved, such as people in the mining industry and the farming industry, and I also made a reference to typical, average Australians living on a quarter acre block. I referred to the typical, average Australian—if there is any such thing any more. There are not any quarter acre blocks any more; they are usually 600 square metres. I did not say those backyards were at risk. If I sought to imply it, I am very sorry. That is not my implication.

  The nub of what we are talking about here is how Senator Margetts, her party colleague, Senator Chamarette, and the Australian Democrats have excluded the Australian citizens from a crucial involvement in the democratic process to create this piece of legislation.

Senator Kernot —How can you say that?

Senator CAMPBELL —Senator Kernot has done it with the help of Senator Chamarette and Senator Margetts by ensuring that this bill has to be put through before Christmas.

  We know that this bill is an absolute mess. Senator Gareth Evans came in here with this scribble pad of a running sheet. He was not even sure whether all the amendments were on it. He could not assure you, Mr Chairman, that all the amendments were on it. We now know that they are not, because more are coming in. We basically have to make up this legislation on the run.

  The people of Australia have not been consulted about each of the amendments. I am sure that the minister, the Democrats and the Greens have consulted with people from the mining industry, the NFF and the Aboriginal community, but that excludes thousands upon thousands of people who should have a say in this.

  By excluding those people, Senator Kernot has absolutely left behind her any claim to being an Australian Democrat in the original sense of the name `Democrat', which was the intention of former senator Don Chipp and the founding fathers of the Australian Democrats. The Democrats cannot go on television saying that they want to include people in the democratic process and consult people when all they have done by their votes in this chamber—Senator Chamarette and Senator Margetts have also done this—is exclude people from being consulted.

  Senator Chamarette was unable to tell us how she will vote on this bill. I am sure that she will take an active interest in the debate during the committee stage. She has not been able to tell us what she will do with the bill. She has said that if the bill goes through, it will hurt Aboriginal people and that if it does not, it will hurt Aboriginal people. She has also said that she will be looking at the amendments. She gave us no clue as to what she will do. It would be good if Senator Chamarette were able to tell the Senate that, if certain amendments are not put into place or are not agreed to, she will vote against the bill.

Senator Margetts —We would have done a deal if we said that.

Senator CAMPBELL —No. They would not be doing a deal; they would be giving the Senate an indication of where they stand. But it does not matter. We will find out where the Greens stand at the end of the two or three days we spend debating this legislation.

  I predict that the Greens will vote for this legislation. They will do what they did with the wine tax legislation. They will run around all over the country saying, `We will make up our minds. We will look at the amendments and the legislation'.

Senator Ferguson —Four days of publicity and then cave in.

Senator CAMPBELL —And get four days of publicity or a week's publicity. They will become the centre of attraction. All of a sudden, they will call a press conference and say, `These are all the reasons we were going to vote against the legislation, but, in the end, it was better to let it through'. That is what they did on the wine tax and the Senate select committee and we all know that that is what they will do on this bill.

  One can only cry wolf so many times. In the end, the media people will ignore the Greens. They will not even ask them what they will do on this. The Premier of Western Australia has called the Greens slow socialists. They are socialist. They always vote with the Labor Party when it counts, although it takes a few days for them to make a decision.

  I guess that there is an incentive to do that because the media people—our friends in the gallery on the second floor—will shine the spotlights on them and make them the centre of political attention for a few days while they make up their minds. But the media will lose interest because, in the end, the Greens always vote with the Labor Party when it counts. They did it on the wine tax and the select committee, and they will do it on this bill.

  It will be a very sad day when a piece of legislation that fundamentally alters the human rights of so many Australians is passed. The saddest thing about this legislation is that it will be very bad for Aboriginal people. It will create unprecedented racial division right throughout this nation. It will not help the welfare, opportunities or prospects of Aboriginal people.

Senator Kernot —Point to the clause that will do that.

Senator CAMPBELL —We will go through this clause by clause and point these things out all the way through. You have reminded me of one thing you said which provoked me to speak and which I thought was most unfair.

The CHAIRMAN —Senator Campbell, address your remarks through the chair.

Senator CAMPBELL —I am sorry, Mr Chairman; I will.

Senator Collins —Why don't we start talking about it clause by clause?

Senator CAMPBELL —We will. One of Senator Kernot's comments in her contribution was that the opposition has made a commitment to oppose all these amendments and clauses; that is dead right. She then said that, because we are opposing it, we are not interested in it. That is the most illogical and stupid thing that I have heard her say all day—and that is not really saying very much.

  Mr Chairman, you know that the coalition is deeply interested in this legislation. Western Australians are deeply interested in it because of what it will do to our state. We are very concerned about what it will do to Aboriginal Western Australians. We are very concerned, as Senator Chamarette said she was concerned, that Aboriginal Western Australians have not had proper consultation on this. The Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs went around the country. It popped into Perth for about 10 hours of hearings and really had to rush everyone through.

  This legislation requires the most thorough consultation of any piece of legislation in this place. It fundamentally affects so many areas of Australia. It fundamentally affects the welfare of Aboriginal people, their prospects and the whole way that they will be a part of Australia for generations and generations to come.

  As Senator Vanstone said quite properly, if this legislation is so good, it will stand up to scrutiny. We have 250 amendments before the chamber. If we waited another month, one wonders whether we would have another 250 amendments. Why do we not do it properly? Why do we not use a sensible process to deal with this legislation? We should deal with it through a proper select committee where amendments can be dealt with sensibly and practically and in an ordered way.

  But we do not want to do that. We want to rush it through this chamber. We want to come back with Native Title Amendment Bill (No. 1) on 2 February 1994, Native Title Amendment Bill (No. 2) in March 1994, Native Title Amendment Bill (No. 3) in April 1994 and then go to the High Court and pay the lawyers hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to fight over the constitutionality of this all because the Democrats, the Greens and the Labor Party want to rush this legislation through before Christmas and exclude Australians from having their say. Basically, they will make a farce of the democratic system.

  The Australian Democrats should no longer call themselves Democrats. They are totally undemocratic. They are an affront to the democracy in this nation. On any occasion they have a chance to consult people, they stop those people from being consulted. I look forward to taking part in the debate in this committee stage and pointing out to the Australian people how this unworkable legislation will destroy the hopes and aspirations of so many black and white Australians.