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Thursday, 14 November 1974
Page: 2431

The PRESIDENT - Order! Please disregard Senator Rae's interjections and address the Chair. The interjections are disorderly anyway.

Senator STEELE HALL -And probably not believable either, according to the record. Let us disregard the Senator whose words are often not believed. The situation therefore seems to me to be that one has to give credence to the Minister when he says that he will make available to Queensland a sum greater in total than the amount voted here, plus the amount which it is said has been subtracted from the sum mentioned in regard to this debate. I understand that at a later stage the Minister will assure the House that Queensland Aborigines will not receive less than the amount which is contained in the vote plus the amendment. I ask the Minister if that is to be the case.

Senator Cavanagh - That is so. It will get an additional grant.

Senator STEELE HALL -The Minister assures the Senate that this is the case. We are talking about the welfare of Aborigines in Queensland whom we want to remove, as soon as the Federal Parliament can do so, from a discriminatory area. Therefore the amendment is irrelevant. What we are talking about is the inability of the Queensland Government to accept its responsbility to talk to the Australian Government about the welfare of Aborigines in Queensland. That is the essence of the case.

Senator Bonner - The Minister has already made an appointment.

Senator STEELE HALL - If the Queensland Minister intends to talk to the Federal Minister we can therefore accept the word of the Minister in this House that the Queensland Aborigines will not be affected detrimentally by the sum which is to be provided for them. If that is the case, what are we talking about in regard to this amendment? It seems to me that we have got into the situation which Senator Bonner says we should not have got into- that is the political arena- in relation to Aboriginal welfare in Australia and particularly in Queensland. I regret that. From my contact with Aboriginal leaders I believe that this is quite the opposite direction from that which the debate in this House should take. I would not support amendments to the motion for the second reading of the Bill.

Senator Jessop - Which leaders have you contacted? I think you ought to tell us.

Senator STEELE HALL - If Senator Jessop cares to take his lead from Senator Rae he can believe what he likes. I will not tell Senator Jessop names because I respect confidences in this place and outside it.

Senator Jessop - You would not know an Aboriginal leader.

Senator STEELE HALL -Mr President,I do not care what Senator Jessop thinks and therefore his remarks are irrelevant to me.

Senator Jessop - You stated that you had had communication with the Aboriginal people. We respect that. I think you ought to say -

The PRESIDENT - Order! I must insist that Senator Hall be heard in silence.

Senator STEELE HALL - I find it remarkable that Senator Jessop thinks that I cannot talk with Aboriginal leaders. I do not think that the leaders of the Aboriginal community would refuse to talk to any honourable senator. In my contact I have found them determinedly nonpolitical. Therefore I believe that they would talk to any honourable senator. I think that Senator Jessop 's interjection is peurile

Senator Jessop - I know more Aboriginal leaders than you do.

Senator STEELE HALL - I congratulate Senator Jessop. I do not intend to be mean about that. I hope that he sees more of them and I congratulate him for it. I will not demean those congratulations by making any other remark.

Senator Jessop - I have sat with these people in a camp fire environment. The honourable senator has not done that.

Senator STEELE HALL - My word! The honourable senator is very astute indeed to know all these things.

The PRESIDENT - Order! I ask Senator Steele Hall to disregard the interjections and to address the Chair.

Senator STEELE HALL -I am sure that Senator Jessop will enlighten us directly. In basic terms it seems to me that the argument has become political. We have got away from the Minister's assurance in the vote before the House that the Queensland Aborigines will not suffer any financial deprivation by the deliberations in this House. Senator Rae has come along with an amendment which is in traditional form. It is in the style of an amendment he moved before. I suppose that when the amendment is defeated- I hope it will be because I intend to vote against it- he will go away and telephone some news editor and get someone to print up some fashion of story about how it was defeated. This time I would like him to tell the truth for a change. I would not like him to rush off, as he did to the newspapers in Tasmania, and put up a story which inferred very great untruths about Tasmanian senators and myself. I hope that Senator Rae will tell whomever he will rush away to telephone directly- I am sure that he will- the truth as to why at least I did not vote for this amendment. The reason why I will vote against it in the first instance is that it has been moved by Senator Rae and I do not trust him. After my previous -

Senator Rae - I will quote that.

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