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Tuesday, 15 May 1973
Page: 2129

Mr CONNOR (Cunningham) (Minister for Minerals and Energy) - in reply - 1 thank the Opposition speakers for their concurrence with the terms of this measure. The honourable member for Parramatta (Mr N. H. Bowen) in particular is entitled to take any vicarious credit that he likes to take for the groundwork that he put into the original arrangements. As he rightly said, there has needed to be a variation of the boundaries of certain permits. There has been no alternative but to do that. In due course the holders of the permits at least will have a measure of certainty that they did not possess before and will be treated as fairly as possible whenever renewals come up for consideration. I remind the honourable member for Parramatta that it is within the competence of the Government to negotiate treaties with foreign powers and that it will be a matter for the individual States under the terms of the non-justiciable agreement - I stress the words 'non-justiciable agreement' - as to whether they pass mirror legislation. Our attitude in relation to sovereign rights over the continental shelf is somewhat different from that of our predecessors in office. Be that as it may, I do not have any doubt that mirror legislation can and will follow in the fullness of time. I am not going to enter into any controversy as to Portuguese Timor. No doubt there will be in due course a delineation of an acceptable boundary line. There has. been a reference to grandstanding. At least it can be said that for the first time in the last 23 years there has been a clear, positive and continuous foreign policy line for everyone to follow in Australia. We have no reason to bc ashamed of the attitudes that we have taken in this regard.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

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