Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 21 December 1993
Page: 5382

Senator COLLINS (Minister for Transport and Communications) (10.53 a.m.) —Without having any desire to be provocative, I think this gets back to a central issue that has been debated to death during these proceedings. The answer to the honourable senator's question is no, and I do not really see how such an exercise could be engaged upon. At this point in time, there is only one native title claim that has been settled, and that has been settled by the High Court in Mabo. No other native title has yet been tested. It would be an exercise that I think would be, frankly, a waste of taxpayers' resources in that it would be entirely speculative to try to peer in advance. Basically, one would have to second-guess the tribunals before they even started to operate by trying to assess in advance, firstly, those areas where native title could potentially exist, and then whether the claims made would succeed. I think it is a totally useless exercise even to contemplate and the government, as I must say Senator Evans has made abundantly clear in previous debate, has no intention of doing that.

The CHAIRMAN —Before I call Senator Ellison again, let me say that earlier in the morning Senator Bishop took a point of order on what she understood Senator Collins to be saying in respect of a certain matter. I ruled that there was no point of order on my understanding and impression of what had been said. I gave an undertaking that I would get a transcript of the Hansard at the first available opportunity to re-examine the words. I am still of the view I held this morning. Senator Bishop was of the view that Senator Collins was implying that her motives were of a racist nature. I have now read the transcript and I am satisfied that that was not intended but rather that Senator Collins was referring to the legislation. Senator Collins has assured me, having read the Hansard himself, that that was his intention. I must say that to have required Senator Collins to withdraw unfairly would have been a reflection on him, in the same way as it would have been had he reflected and had not been required to withdraw.