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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5217


Senator SPINDLER (10.15 a.m.) —This attempt by the coalition is yet another example of how it wants to delay the substantive business of this house. It continues the tradition of the first three weeks in this parliamentary sittings when we had hardly five hours of dealing with substantive legislation. All the coalition is doing is obstructing and wasting time. The reality is that we have started to debate this bill constructively; amendments have been moved and have been either rejected or accepted.

  I would remind the coalition that the Australian Democrats opposed the government's amendment to clause 24. If coalition senators had really wanted to get that principle up on behalf of the pastoralists and the mining industry, they should have joined the three National Party senators who crossed the floor. But they did not. They might now realise their mistake, but that is no reason to hold up the further consideration of this bill.

  We need to get into this legislation and deal with it substantively. Aboriginal people have waited long enough. It is time that we did something to put a base of justice in our dealings with the Aboriginal community. If the coalition thinks it will tire us out, I believe that it has made a wrong judgment. This is one bill where an endurance test will work against the coalition. It has simply picked the wrong bill. If necessary, we will sit until New Year's Eve.