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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5348


Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (12.05 a.m.) —That would be relevant in a situation where, for example, a particular sacred site is on the land in question. That site may be inaccessible, but it still has dreaming stories about it which form part of the continuing character of the particular community and, while that community may be physically detached from the sacred site, that site is still very much a part of the community's ongoing cultural environment. In this day and age, not many of those sorts of situations are likely to be ascertainable or sustainable before the tribunal. However, that is the kind of thing that the draftsmen and my advisers had in mind in drafting the note in this way.

  It will always be a matter for the courts to determine what kind of connection will count in establishing a native title claimant's right. It is not to be assumed that continuing physical association is necessarily a part of that, although obviously a continuing physical association will be by far the easiest evidence to establish to the satisfaction of a tribunal. However, we do not want to exclude other kinds. Maybe that example I gave is not a bad example of one such continuing form of non-physical association.