Territory Stories

Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 28 February 2001



Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 28 February 2001

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Parliamentary Record 27


Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 28 February 2001 supported in this House. It is a little bit cute for them to now walk in here and say, Oh, we have to negotiate these things out, when they supported, some time ago, legislation that was going to be very useful to sort these things out. At the end of the day, the issue this parliament has to deal with, the issue Territorians and the land councils have to deal with, is the effect of not granting these exploration licences. I suggest the effect is simple. Where these exploration licences are not being issued, or are being caught up in a very lengthy process, the compensation or other gains that can be made for the native title holders, albeit on land trusts or on pastoral leases, does not flow quickly to them. This means that their lifestyles cant improve; they cant get jobs. Once again, this pool of welfare dependency falls over, especially in areas where there are land trusts. The member for Amhem, who was quite proud in telling this House that he was the former director of the NLC, was in a brilliant position, an excellent position, to do something about all of this. He had a particularly good opportunity to negotiate with the Northern Territory government, help pass these exploration licences, and encourage our Aboriginal people to understand the processes so that the lifestyle of all Territorians could be improved. But, in actual fact, he sat here and chortled; he thought it was funny when the sticking points were being read out by the m inister. I find that infuriating. Not that he thinks its funny; thats the nature of politics in this Chamber. What I find infuriating is that, when I travel around my electorate and the area covered by the NLC, I see, on a daily basis, the outcomes of lack of employment, lack of work, lack of health, lack of education, and poverty and squalor - and it makes me sick. It makes me sick that we hear this constant toing and froing, especially from the member for Amhem, when Aboriginal people, the holders of native title and the owners of land trusts, cant enjoy income from their own lands. I think it is bizarre, quite frankly, that in this day and age, some of the worlds largest landowners are still poverty stricken. I hope that this situation is sorted out very quickly. I hope results can be achieved. But sitting here chortling is not the way to fix these problems. To suggest that the mining companies have had the wool pulled over their eyes, or that they are stupid for relying on the Northern Territory government, is completely wrong. I dont think mining companies are stupid at all. I think they were simply nervous by the original regime. I think they are still nervous of the current regime. Nevertheless, I hope the processes can be expedited, and I hope that, finally, there can be some results so we can see some change in the Northern Territory. I listened to the member for Stuart talking about economics and job development and those sorts of things. I often wonder if he has a clear understanding of how to generate wealth. In fact, he mixes up lifestyle with economic development. They are two completely separate issues. I have this mental picture of a Labor Cabinet meeting being lead by Chief Minister Martin - perish the thought! But it would go something like this: Today we are going to go and sacrifice a chicken to the Great Money Serpent, which is going to leap out of the ground and sprinkle money all over the place after I paint runic symbol incantations across the top of my forehead. And Jack, please stop eating the chicken. That is the sort of economic policy we will start to hear from the members opposite in terms of developing the Northern Territory. As we go through their pohcies - not only in relation to native title and land rights, but also future development in all sorts of areas - I often wonder how they think they will pay for all this. If they continue planning the way they currently are, the problems we see in the marginalised areas of our community will develop in the mainstream; they will not be marginal problems any more. M r MANZIE (Resource Development): Mr Speaker, some of the responses to this statement are disappointing. This statement was about laying out a series of facts because the facts have been misinterpreted. I should start with the member for Stuart who didnt listen and didnt read the statement. He launched into this rhetoric about the end of the world and how the government works to stop the process and doesnt beheve in native title or land rights. That is just so much garbage that it has to be stated that it is garbage. It is the sort of rhetoric that the ALP uses in the bush. It tries to portray to Aboriginal people that that is the CLP position. As I have said many times in this House, the CLP platform makes it very clear that land rights is something we certainly believe in and support. It has been there for many, many years. We dont step back from the fact that if people have traditional ownership of land, they have traditional ownership. That is that. To have members like the member for Stuart continually misrepresenting that shows that Territory Labor is being totally and utterly dishonest. I find that behaviour by a member totally unacceptable, especially when it is exhibited by someone who has the role of providing information to his constituents. The second thing that needs to be stated very clearly is that native title is a concept that we in the CLP recognised before anyone else in the country. 7538

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