Giving them a chance, giving us an out.
In the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1970, a variety of reasons were put forward for granting land rights to the Lake Tyers and Framlingham communities. The Liberal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mr.Meagher said:
'The strong ties between Aborigines and the land are well known, and despite the removal by time and distance from full-blood settlements, some people at the Lake Tyers and Framlingham reserves have very strong attachments to these areas of land. Very careful consideration was given to every possible alternative which would allow the residents to take pride in their community. The only reasonable solution which arose out of this consideration was the one which is contained in this Bill - that the Aboriginal people should have ownership of the land on which they and their forbears have lived for generations.'
Country Party Member Mr.Mitchell, while supporting the Bill, compared Aborigines unfavourably with Maoris and declared:
'Fair and square on the shoulders of Aborigines have been put the opportunity and the challenge to prove that they can do something and the knowledge that we are prepared to trust them. We can tell the world that we trust our Aborigines and that we have put them in charge of their affairs. If they cannot make a success of it, we will stand excused in the eyes of the world because we gave them their chance. This is their chance.'
Keywords: Aboriginal Land Act 1970, aborigines, Lake Tyers, land rights, ownership, property, property law, reserves, Victoria, 1970
Victoria: Parliamentary Debates v.300, pp 1420, 1765.
Author: Rowse, Tim and Graham, Trevor