In Western Australia, the weak position of Aboriginal land owners was dramatised by the Noonkanbah dispute (see other text file) in 1979-80. The Burke (ALP) Government set up an inquiry into land rights by Paul Seaman QC in 1984. Seaman's recommendations were similar to Woodward's in both scope and strength, including a mining veto. The mining industry's hostile publicity intimidated the Burke Government into formulating a bill which diluted Seaman's proposals. Burke's bill was rejected by a conservative upper house. The Burke Government used this experience to warn the Hawke Government not to try to legislate a national framework of land rights laws.
Keywords: Hawke, Bob, land rights, Noonkanbah, States' rights, Western Australia, 1979-1984
Author: Rowse, Tim and Graham, Trevor