Bills - Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 - Second Reading

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (16:32): I have already made a few brief comments on this bill, the Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017, and I want to curtail my remarks because I think it is very important that this bill is voted on this afternoon so that we can bring certainty to the native title holders, certainty to land title groups right across Australia, certainty to the Adani proposals for mines in Central Queensland, certainty to the future prospects for jobs for workers and certainty to the Queensland government about the revenue streams that will flow once these issues are dealt with.

I took part in the debate as Chair of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, which conducted an inquiry into this legislation. I want to thank all of those who made submissions and all of those who appeared before the committee—and there were a lot of them—to give their evidence. We heard from all sides of the argument, and I think everyone had a very fair hearing. I particularly want to thank the secretariat of the committee, who, as always, did a wonderful job in assisting with the organisation of the hearings and the preparation of the final report. And I thank all senators on the committee for their cooperation. The committee was able to make a unanimous recommendation that the bill be passed, subject to some amendments which have been accepted by the government. The Attorney, in consultation with Senator Dodson and others, has refined the amendment we are dealing with today.

I will digress very slightly to something that was said in a debate on this topic earlier today. Senator McCarthy, unfortunately, misrepresented what I had said in my earlier speech about future amendments to this bill. Everyone acknowledges that there do have to be new amendments, but they are not being dealt with at the moment. This was specifically in relation to the McGlade decision. That was clear to everyone. Sometime in the future, at the Attorney's direction, there will be consultations, there will be draft bills issued and there will be amendments that the government will work with Indigenous spokesmen and stakeholders on to ensure that the new amendments are correct.

Finally, I make a plea. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Labor Premier of Queensland, I plead with you: please, pick up the phone and ring the four Queensland Labor senators. Ring them now. They are, in case you have forgotten, Premier, Senator Ketter, Senator Moore, Senator Chisholm and Senator Watt. You should have their phone numbers. Please ring them as representatives of Queensland and say that you, along with the federal government, along with Indigenous people and along with the workers in Central and North Queensland who do not have a job, are desperate to get this bill through the parliament. If that needs sitting tomorrow, as the government has proposed, can you please, Premier Palaszczuk, ask the Labor senators from Queensland, who are supposed to be helping Queensland, to give up their long weekend and get their colleagues in the Senate to sit tomorrow, on Friday, so that we can deal with this bill in a full eight hours of debate and get it passed? Everyone agrees it should be passed. I think it is essential that it should be done. Please, Premier Palaszczuk, ring your Queensland Labor senators and ask them to get off their bums, actually do the work and get this bill passed.

Back to List