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Tuesday, 21 December 1993
Page: 5465

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (8.22 p.m.) —There is a nice little symmetry about this. Just as we, for the purposes of clause 11, pick up the common law and give it statutory force, in essence in clause 208(3) we are picking up the Western Australian statute and giving it the force of common law. What it really means, as Senator Minchin said, is that we are treating these particular native title rights as if they were common law rights.

  In every place in this legislation where we see a reference to native title rights, we should treat them as subsumed within that description, whatever their extent in Western Australia, and in effect ignore their source. We should ignore the fact that they were common law, became Western Australian statute and now have been picked up as Commonwealth statute by virtue of the overriding provisions of this legislation.