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Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 - Tuesday 2 October 1990 Mr COLLINS: Mr Deputy Speaker, no doubt you wi 11 recall that, duri ng the last sittings of this Assembly, I mentioned the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. I mentioned particularly the fact that, when an Australian Bill of Rights was proposed in 1986, the Australian people objected to many powers which it would have contained. The Bill of Ri ghts was wi thdrawn but, as I poi nted out duri ng the 1 ast s i tt i ngs, the federal government slipped the objectionable aspects, those which the Australian people had said they did not want, into the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act, which became law at the end of 1986. During the last sittings, I tabled a document containing cross-references demonstrating the links between provisions in the withdrawn Bill of Rights which were incorporated subsequently in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act. I have in my possession now a much-improved document which explains various matters, including the meaning of the High Court decisions of 1983 in the Queensland and Tasmanian dams cases, which allowed Australia to ratify a large number of treaties with the United Nations and to bind us to international law. I commend this document to honourable members. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Bill was passed in a sing 1 e day, with on ly 20 mi nutes of debate in the House of Representat i ves and 15 mi nutes in the Senate. The oppos it i on, wh i ch opposed the Bi 11 of Rights, w~s sold a pup and supported the Human Rights ahd Equal Opportunity Commi ss i on Act. It is now 1 aw. Mr Deputy Speaker, if I want to 1 ay a complaint against you, under the terms of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act, you will not know that I am the person who laid the complaint, you will not know the evidence on which I made that complaint, you will not even know the nature of the complaint, and you will not be ent it 1 ed to 1 ega 1 representat ion. The former federal Leader of the Oppos it ion, Hon John Howard, sa i d at one stage that he wou 1 d repea 1 the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act, and well he might. Certainly, if I have the opportunity to speak to Dr Hewson, I would like him to see a copy of this document so that he can have it checked thoroughly. Mr Coulter: Are you going to see him tonight? Mr COLLINS: Certainly, I am. I have received an invitation, which I greatly appreciate. I would like to know where he stands in relation to this matter. These powers have been given to a body which is not responsible to the parliament in many of its functions and which I believe is totally un-Australian. Mr Deputy Speaker, I seek leave to table this improved document which sets out clearly the connections which demonstrate that what I am saying is true and accurate. It can be checked from the public record. Leave granted. Mr FLOREANI (Flynn): Mr Deputy Speaker, tonight I would like to expand on a question which I raised last week. The question was directed to the Chief Minister and it related to Aboriginal arts and artifacts. I would like to expand on the point that I was trying to make with that question. Mr Deputy Speaker, if you were to check out any of the tourist shops in this or any other town, you would find many items such as bangles and necklaces which appear to be made by Aboriginal people but are actually made overseas or possibly in Austral ia. These items purport to be Aboriginal art. Obviously, Aboriginal art is of great interest to tourists and I 10 717