APY Lands

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation a question regarding the APY Land Rights (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2014.

Leave granted.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: Last night this chamber rushed through a piece of legislation, the APY Land Rights (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill, giving the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation unfettered power over the executive of the APY and unprecedented power over the APY people, the people who live on the lands. At around noon on Thursday 27 November (I believe it was), I, along with a member of my staff, met with minister Hunter and his adviser in the House of Assembly lounge regarding this bill. During that meeting, my staff member and I asked who had been consulted in regard to this bill and what their thoughts were about it being rushed through the parliament as a matter of urgency.

I quite clearly recall, if my memory is correct, asking the minister whether he had consulted the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement and he said that, yes, he had. He gave the impression that pretty much everybody he had spoken to was quite happy with the bill and yet in the debate on this bill last evening, during the committee stage, the Hon. Ms Tammy Franks asked the minister if he had consulted with Khatija Thomas as the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement. The minister replied, ‘No, I have not.’ So, my question to the minister is: why did the minister tell me and my staff, and I assume other members of this chamber, in the presence of his staff member, that he had consulted Khatija Thomas as the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement on this bill if it is not the case?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation): Mr President, I—

The Hon. R.I. Lucas: Wriggle your way out of this one.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Well, I am not going to wriggle my way out of this, Mr President. I actually reject—

The PRESIDENT: Honourable members, the minister has the floor.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: —the premise of the question. I did not at any time advise the Hon. Ms Kelly Vincent that I had discussed the bill with the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement; I did not, because I had not discussed that bill with anyone other than members of this place and members of the other place up until that point in time. I discussed this legislation with the Hon. Mr Mark Parnell and the Hon. Tammy Franks, I discussed this legislation with members of the Liberal Party from this chamber and the other place, I discussed this legislation with the Hon. Kelly Vincent, I discussed this legislation over the phone (as was made quite plain yesterday) with the Hon. Mr Hood and I discussed this legislation with a staff member of the Hon. Mr Darley. So, I could not have actually discussed it with the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement because I made a point of discussing it with members of this place and the other place first before I engaged with anybody else.