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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5258


Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (2.28 p.m.) —I have answered Senator Bishop's question. She is simply repeating it. They do not occur as of right in the sense that they can occur without regard being had to their impact on native titleholders. If there are native titleholders in the area in question and any one of these forms of activity impacts on them, the consequences that are spelt out in this part of the legislation follow from that. That is part of the scheme of the legislation. Any form of activity which is within the definition of `future acts' but affects native title within the meaning of clause 238(c) is something that must be subject to the processes of the legislation. That is proper and appropriate.

  That is the very interest that has not been recognised in the past—the existence of Aboriginal titleholders. They have just been regarded as being as non-existent as the terra nullius principle itself. They do not exist; they do exist. They have rights; they have legitimate positions to put and legitimate claims for compensation to make when those rights are impaired. This is what the bill is all about.