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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5298

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (5.54 p.m.) —No, that is true. But when one is dealing with a particular claimant who has not yet been the subject of a determination, the process for getting a determination does not take endlessly long. It takes some time, as we discussed earlier, but one could proceed to get the determination and just have an indemnity arrangement, perhaps, that was conditional upon the determination being resolved favourably for that claimant. The process of the determination might flush out other claimants, but their competing claims would be resolved in that determination.

  Once a determination is made and there is a native titleholder in existence, it is only in the most exceptional circumstances—which are spelled out in clause 12(5)—that one could vary the determination. It is only where it can be demonstrated `that events have taken place since the determination was made that have caused the determination no longer to be correct', and so on. I think the fact of the determination is as decisive as any proprietary—

Senator Alston —But that's not exclusive of others, is it?

Senator GARETH EVANS —It is in the nature of it. The determination would go to whether there is title, what it extends to and who holds it. If someone else wanted to come in over the top and say, `We are entitled to part of it as well'—that is, some group of relatives from down the track who were not part of the original process but perhaps should have been—that will be a variation situation that can be made only if those conditions are satisfied.