07 July 1998
Last-ditch attempt to scuttle aboriginal land bill

OPPONENTS of Australias proposed Aboriginal land-rights law launched an eleventh hour attempt yesterday to scupper the bill.

Former Labour prime minister Paul Keating said in a front-page article in the Sydney Morning Herald that new premier John Howard had betrayed Aborigines. Aboriginal groups held a “national day of shame”.

The bill limits Aboriginal rights over traditional lands. It refuses to allow them to negotiate with companies which want to mine on pastoral leases. Farmers on the same leases have such rights.

Farmers have waged a strong campaign for the Government to extinguish native title rights altogether ever since the Australian High Court ruled in 1996 that Aboriginal native titles could co-exist with farming activities.

  • The Independent 07/07/98 page 11
  • The Guardian 07/07/98 page 15