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Tuesday, 12 September 1972
Page: 685

Senator CAVANAGH (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed tto the Attorney-General and arises from the one asked by Senator Murphy.

The PRESIDENT - Order! I have said that I will not allow a judicial decision to be discussed through the process of question time. There are other forms of the Senate by which this may be done. If the honourable senator wishes to ask a question which the Attorney-General can answer without involvement in the judicial process, I will allow it. The honourable senator heard me apply the stricture to Senator Murphy, and I now apply that stricture to him.

Senator CAVANAGH - At jio time did I seek to canvass the judgment.

The PRESIDENT - Then, I would like to know what it is you wish to canvass.

Senator CAVANAGH - As a result of the judgment there are some things which the Attorney-General should make known to the Parliament, including the attitude of the Government. Will- the Attorney-General examine other ordinances and regulations to ascertain whether they may be inoperative for the same reason that this particular Ordinance was found in that judgment to be inoperative? Did the Commonwealth police, when removing the Aboriginal embassy', purport to be acting under the ordinance relating to unleased lands? Will the Commonwealth Government compensate the Aborigines for any loss incurred as a result of police action which was taken under an .inoperative ordinance?

Senator GREENWOOD - I shall examine whether there are other ordinances or regulations which may be affected by the rationale of the Court's judgment to which the honourable senator referred. As to his question about the Commonwealth police, I do not think that there is any occasion to answer it because the Commonwealth police took no part in the apprehension and arrest of persons connected with the Aboriginal 'embassy' erected outside Parliament House. As to whether any compensation may be payable, I feel that the Government's attitude would be that if people considered that their rights had been infringed they, like everyone else, have access to the courts of law to assert those rights.

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