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Saturday, 18 December 1993
Page: 5098


Senator ALSTON (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (10.16 a.m.) —Surely we can have a situation where a state might introduce native title legislation and not purport to extinguish. There would then be state common law, or common law principles arising out of state legislation. What the minister has just said suggests to me that he is, in effect, codifying uncertainty. The minister cannot identify what the common law of native title is at any particular point in time because he concedes it evolves, and yet he tries to mandate uncertainty which the courts would have difficulty in applying other than by reference to the common law. So why not let the common law stand alone, and not purport to cover the field?