Richard Court

Richard Court


    Labor sells out Western Australia on native title: Premier

    9/11/2000 12:32 PM

      Premier Richard Court says Geoff Gallop and Kim Beazley have abandoned the people of Western Australia by putting party politics ahead of a workable native title system for the State.

      Mr Court was commenting on the Labor Party’s decision to side with the Democrats and vote to disallow the Western Australian legislation in the Senate.

      “It is an insult to all Western Australians that a matter of such importance to this State was given just over two hours of debate in the Senate before Labor and the minor parties ‘put it to the sword’,” the Premier said.

      “It is clear Labor wanted this matter off the agenda because they know they have sold out this State and its people.

      “Dr Gallop should stop taking orders from Canberra and show some leadership. He should put the interests of WA ahead of factionalism in the ALP.”

      Mr Court said that while the matter was being debated in the Senate, Dr Gallop was on Perth radio criticising the State Government for favouring litigation over negotiation on native title issues.

      “What absolute hypocrisy, when his party was just voting down a State-based native title system that would have been workable and ensured consultation with Aboriginal claimants and resulted in real benefits for Aboriginal people,” the Premier said.

      “Dr Gallop talks about a negotiated approach to native title, yet the fact is that we have delivered more land to claimants than any other government through agreements such as those with the Nganawonka and Spinifex people.

      “The real difference between the Coalition’s approach and Labor’s is that we will not give in to outrageous demands.

      “We will not negotiate away State ownership of minerals or water - Labor and Geoff Gallop will.

      “We are not afraid to take matters to the courts when it is in the State’s interest - Labor will not litigate to protect assets that belong to the whole community.

      “Today we had a chance to take a real step forward in resolving the native title maze in this State - Labor has snuffed that out.

      Media contact: Casey Cahill 9222 9475