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Wednesday, 16 November 1983
Page: 2778

Mr PORTER —I refer the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to his statement in Queensland during the recent State election campaign that he intended to introduce uniform land rights legislation in August next year. Has the Minister advised his Western Australian colleague that he will impose land rights legislation on that State before the Aboriginal Land Inquiry, conducted by Mr Seaman, QC, on behalf of the Western Australian Government, is completed? What will be the position if the Federal legislation is inconsistent with the recommendations of the Inquiry?

Mr HOLDING —The term 'impose land rights legislation on the Western Australian Government' was the term used by the honourable gentleman asking the question; it is not a term that has ever been used by me. When the Seaman inquiry was first announced it was the subject of discussion between me, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in Western Australia and the Premier of Western Australia. We have said that, having regard to the size of Western Australia, its Aboriginal population and the fact that it has a large geographic spread which involves a range of problems as they affect Aboriginal citizens in urban, semi-rural and original Aboriginal communities, we would regard the findings of that inquiry as being of considerable significance. We have had approaches from the Western Australian Government to consider funding in respect of that inquiry and that is being considered. I indicated that we would be seeking from the Seaman inquiry an interim report in respect of those matters which are of prime concern to us in the formulation of our land rights legislation.

Mr Sinclair —Did you tell Burke about it? Did Burke agree?

Mr HOLDING —We are very happy to talk to all State Premiers and we have the most cordial of relations--

Mr Sinclair —Did Burke agree with you?

Mr HOLDING —I do not know what is wrong with the Deputy Leader of the National Party. I thought he was only dumb; he now seems to be deaf also. He should have realised from what I said that I have discussed this matter fully with Mr Burke and that we are currently considering a request from Western Australia for funds . I have indicated that we would want an interim report from Mr Seaman because that interim report may well help us very considerably in the preparation of our own land rights legislation.