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Tuesday, 21 December 1993
Page: 5486

Senator ELLISON (10.12 p.m.) —Before this debate finally draws to a close, there are some matters in this section that I feel compelled to raise with the minister. I refer to amendment No. 50A of the government dealing with clause 208. I want to know what the government's intention was here, because subclause 208(4) has been changed. As I see it, it works like this: Senator Evans said that subclause (3) gave a rebirth to native title as a result of state legislation; he referred to Western Australia but it was to refer to all states. This subclause says that, to avoid any doubt, that subclause does not apply to rights and interests created by a reservation in relation to a pastoral lease, provided those reservations are not native title rights and interests.

  As we know, in Western Australia, and in other states, there are reservations on pastoral leases—this goes back some time now—which have specifically allowed Aboriginal people in the area to hunt on the property, to traverse across the property. It has been said that in those cases the pastoral lease does not necessarily extinguish native title completely because these reservations or conditions on the pastoral leases are effectively reserving the rights of Aboriginal people.

  Why then has the government brought about this change in the amendment to say that these reservations and conditions are not included in subclause (3), which are not native title rights and interests? That is implying that some of them might be and might not be. That is the confusion I find. Can the minister enlighten me?