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Friday, 17 December 1993
Page: 5070

Senator VANSTONE (10.53 p.m.) —In response to what the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Gareth Evans) said earlier—`You do not have to worry; that is the nature of the body corporate'—there must be thousands of shareholders around Australia who are not satisfied that the corporation has acted in their interests at all and that there are suitable opportunities for them, on each occasion a management decision is taken, to have their say. That is simply not the case. Quite clearly, it is not the case. All the minister says is, `Oh, well. That is the nature of the corporate process'. There are millions of shareholders around Australia who would say that the nature of the corporate process only backs up the point that we are raising—namely, that by having native title held in a corporate body only puts at risk the opportunities for the native titleholders to ensure that their titles are managed in the way that they want that to be done.

  Senator Evans should come back to that point. I do not deny what Senator Chamarette says about having this debate on other clauses as they relate to this matter. I understand the point you are making there. It is just that now this point has come up we may as well resolve it. If you have satisfaction in the corporate process of representing the shareholders and think it is appropriate to leave it at that—

  The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Teague)—Senator Vanstone, address your remarks through the chair.

Senator VANSTONE —I am sorry, Mr Temporary Chairman. Through you, I wonder whether that is what the minister thinks. In any event, perhaps he could address 53(5) which indicates what is going to be set out by regulation, not by the wishes of the native titleholders in the areas covered by each of these corporations. A whole manner of things will be set out here and the native titleholders, presumably on each occasion, are not going to be able to say, `We do not want our corporation to do this; we want our corporation to be allowed to do that'. What does the minister say in relation to 53(5) and how that interrelates?