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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1968

Mr Grassby asked the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:

(1)   Did he advise the Griffith Aborigines Advancement Organization on 27th January 1972 by letter that the Government intends to eliminate all provisions discriminating against Aborigines in Commonwealth and State legislation.

(2)   If so, will he list the present discriminatory Commonwealth and State Acts which he believes should be amended.

(3)   Did the previous Prime Minister state that all discriminatory legislation would be changed in the life of the present Parliament: if so, will this time-table be adhered to.

Mr Howson - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   In a letter of 6 January to the Secretary of the Griffith Aborigines Advancement Organization, written on behalf of the Prime Minister, I gave an assurance that it continues to be the Government's intention that all provisions discriminating against Aborigines should be eliminated from Commonwealth and State legislation.

(2)   On 19th August 1970, in answer to Question No. 628 (Hansard page 248) the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affiairs listed all Commonwealth and State legislation regarded as discriminatory against Aborigines. The above legislation remains in force. Two Acts repealing and replacing the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Acts of 1965-67 have been enacted by the Queensland Parliament and I am informed they will come into operation on a date to be proclaimed later this year. Bills for new legislation in Western Australia were introduced into the Western Australian Parliament late in 1971 and will be considered by the Parliament this year.

(3)   The former Prime Minister in his election policy speech of 8th October 1969 stated that:

In recent years, most discriminatory legislation against Aboriginals has been abolished. We intend to see that this process is completed in the life of the next Parliament upon both State and Federal Levels.'

Most discriminatory legislation that remained on the Statute books at that date has now been repealed, and as indicated above, further legislative changes are contemplated this year.

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