Indigenous Law Bulletin
The Commonwealth Government intends to re-introduce its Bill to amend the Native Title Act in March (see page 4) for pre-Xmas Senate amendments). We face the possibility of a double dissolution election on race issues for both Houses of Parliament and a joint sitting debate on the Bill.
Unlike the Canadian Government, the Australian Government has refused to apologise to the Stolen Generations, its response to their situation ignoring many of the recommendations of the National Inquiry (see page 15). We understand that the Centre for Human Rights in the United Nations has severely cut back the number of staff dedicated to indigenous issues from 5 to 1. This does not augur well for the advancement of indigenous people at the international level (see Jull and Nettheim, this issue) and Dr Sarah Pritchard's discussion of the Third Session of the Commission of Human Rights Working Group at the UN in the forthcoming March issue of the ILB).
Sadly another Aboriginal leader has passed away prematurely. We at the ILB extend our sympathy to the family and friends of Essie Coffey, well known Aboriginal activist from Brewarrina.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs is inquiring into Commonwealth Government support for indigenous businesses. Relevant issues include the success of existing programs, future policy directions, barriers to joint venture partnerships, and means of raising the profile of indigenous businesses. Written submissions should be sent to: The Committee Secretary, House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600
Contact: The Committee Secretary
02 6277 4559 or fax 02-6277 2219 atsia.reps @aph.gov.au
A new group - Lawyers for Native Title - consisting of lawyers from different sectors who have grave concerns about the consequences for the legal rights of indigenous people, arising out of the Native Title Amendment Bill has been launched in Sydney. The group meets in the Australian Centre for Environmental Law Library, University of Sydney Law School at 5.30 pm each Thursday. Contact: Sean McLaughlin 02-9660 8910; Sarah Waddell 02-9363 2210; Susan Phillips 02-9335 3063; Andrew Chalk 02-92314544.
The reporting date for the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Native Title and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Fund inquiry into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 has been extended until the first week in April 1988. This will enable the Committee to conduct further extensive consultations in the Northern Territory in Darwin and Alice Springs on 17 and 18 February respectively. Submissions to the Inquiry are still invited.
The Aboriginal Justice Advisory Council, which is the main advisory body to the NSW Government on justice issues effecting Aboriginal people, has called for indigenous nominations. Applications were closing Friday 6 February 1998. For further information, call 02 9228 8451.