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Tuesday, 21 December 1993
Page: 5411


Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (2.29 p.m.) —I move:

(26)Clause 59, page 37, after subparagraph (2)(a)(iv), insert the following subparagraph:

  "(iva)any person who holds a proprietary interest in any of the area covered by the application, being an interest that is registered in a register of interests in relation to land or waters maintained by the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; and".

(27)Clause 60, page 37 (line 34) to page 38 (line 3), omit subclause (2), substitute the following subclause:

Effect if an application by native title claimants is accepted

  "(2) If:

  (a)within the period specified in the notice under section 59, a person or persons claiming to hold native title give a native title determination application (the `claimant application') that covers any part of the area covered by the nonclaimant application to the Registrar or to a recognised State/Territory body entitled to receive it; and

  (b)the claimant application is accepted (whether initially or on appeal and whether or not within the specified period);

then:

  (c)if the non-claimant application is by or on behalf of a Minister, the Crown in any capacity or a statutory authority—the non-claimant application is taken to be dismissed; or

  (d)in any other case—the non-claimant application is taken, for all purposes after the claimant application is given to the Registrar, not to relate to the area covered by the claimant application.".

(28)Clause 64, page 39, lines 21 to 25, omit paragraphs (c) and (d), substitute the following paragraph:

    "(c)the Tribunal is satisfied that a determination in, or consistent with, those terms would be within the powers of the Tribunal and would be appropriate in the circumstances;".

(29)Clause 65, page 39, after subclause (2), insert the following subclause:

  Statements at conference are without prejudice

  "(2A) In proceedings before the Federal Court, and at a hearing before the Tribunal, unless the parties otherwise agree, evidence may not be given, and statements may not be made, concerning any words spoken or act done at a conference.".

(30)Clause 65, page 39, subclause (3), line 37, omit "A member", substitute "Unless the parties otherwise agree, a member".

(31)Clause 65, page 39, at the end of the clause add the following subclause:

  Participation by telephone etc.

  "(4) The member may allow a person to participate by:

    (a) telephone; or

    (b) closed-circuit television; or

    (c) any other means of communication.".

(32)Clause 66, page 40, lines 9 to 14, omit paragraphs (c) and (d), substitute the following paragraph:

    "(c)the Tribunal is satisfied that a determination in, or consistent with, those terms would be within the powers of the Tribunal and would be appropriate in the circumstances;".

(33)Clause 76, page 42, subclause (1), line 19, omit "is to", substitute "may".

(34)Clause 80, page 43, lines 28 to 34 omit paragraphs (c) and (d), substitute the following paragraph:

    "(c)the Court is satisfied that an order in, or consistent with, those terms would be within the power of the Court;".

(35)Clause 88, page 46, subclause (2), lines 14 and 15, omit "on the nomination of the President".

(36)Clause 132, page 63, paragraph (l)(a), line 1, omit "or 64", substitute ", 64 or 66".

(37)Clause 139, page 64, paragraph (b), line 33, before "findings" insert "report,".

(38)After clause 141, page 65, insert the following new clause in Subdivision B:

Power of Tribunal where applicant requests dismissal

  "141A. The Tribunal may dismiss an application if:

    (a)the applicant requests, in writing, that the application be dismissed; and

    (b)the Tribunal is satisfied that it is appropriate to dismiss the application.".

(39)Clause 178, page 78, after subclause (1), insert the following note:

"Note: The person mentioned in paragraph (1)(d) is the registered native title claimant. This is the person to whom notices, for example under paragraph 28(2)(b), are to be given.".

The purport of those amendments is in each case technical. They are related to tribunal and court procedures. I do not think that there is a single issue of policy sensitivity among them, but I am happy to answer any questions that might be asked in that respect.

  For the sake of clarifying the record, the government will support amendment No. 23 of the Australian Democrats which has just been moved by Senator Kernot. We will also support amendment No. 22A of the Greens (WA). We will not support the Greens' amendment No. 24 to clause 58.

  In anticipation of what may be now moved by the Democrats in relation to tribunal and court procedures, I indicate that we will accept the Democrats' proposed amendment No. 27, but we are unable to accept—if they are moved—amendments Nos 25 and 26 of the Democrats.

  Amendments (by Senator Spindler) proposed:

25.Clause 67, page 40, omit the clause, substitute the following clause:

Applications not settled are to be referred to the Federal Court

"67(1)Upon application of any party, a claim for a declaration of native title currently pending but not yet at trial as at the date of commencement of this Act in any court must be transferred to the Tribunal.

  "67(2)If an application is accepted under section 57 and the Tribunal does not make a determination under section 63, 64 or 66, the Registrar must lodge the application to the Federal Court for decision.".

26.Clause 74, page 42, add the following subclause:

"(2)Upon application of any party, a claim for a declaration of native title currently pending but not yet at trial as at the date of commencement of this Act in any court must be transferred to the Federal Court.".

27.Clause 108, page 53, omit subclause (2).