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Saturday, 18 December 1993
Page: 5137

Senator HARRADINE (3.00 p.m.) —I have a question for Senator Spindler, the mover of the amendment. I am trying to grapple with how this amendment fits in with what the parliament is actually trying to do—and that is to recognise and acknowledge the decision of the High Court in respect of certain very fundamental questions which go to the ownership and occupancy of land—and with the judgment of the High Court in Mabo No. 2. I cannot see that it does. That is not to say that there are not other things in this bill that do not; a whole host of things do not fit in with Mabo No. 2.

  When we come to land ownership and occupancy—and, in a certain sense, management—it seems to me that this amendment does cut across the Mabo No. 2 decision. As has been pointed out previously in the debate, if the proposition is to talk about the existing access, the current access might have occurred only very recently. Senator Chamarette says that it is up to the courts to determine that. Current means current, I would have thought.