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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5323


Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (9.31 p.m.) —They are not dead meat in the sense that they get no opportunity to get compensation. That is provided for, notwithstanding that the act will have to go ahead and be taken as valid. It is a short matter of getting a balance of interests here. One half of those opposite was fulminating the other day with great vigour and enthusiasm about how outrageous the longwinded, protracted and uncertain processes were, requiring all this notification and general fooling around, waiting for someone to turn up out of the woodwork to possibly have a claim. The other half of those opposite, as represented by Senator Vanstone, is now fulminating about how outrageous it may be that someone might miss out.

  There are not all that many nomadic tribes, clans, subgroups or family groups wandering around the outback these days, particularly ones that are having a political brawl with ATSIC, if that is the criterion involved. The truth of the matter is that it is perfectly reasonable to anticipate, under the notification provisions that are here set out and which are designed to be followed and designed to ensure that any reasonable claims are known before acts do occur which are subsequently uncontested. I think it is just part of the balance that has to be struck in any legislation of this kind, and I think the balance to be struck is a pretty good one in this respect.