Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Vanstone's 'No Idea' Committee

By Brian Johnstone - posted Thursday, 11 November 2004

On August 31 this year the President of the Senate Paul Calvert received two letters. The first, brief and formal, was from Labor Senator Trish Crossin, in her capacity as Chairperson of the Senate Select Committee on the Administration of Indigenous Affairs.

She wrote:
Pursuant to Standing Order 38 (7) I present an Interim Report of the Committee. On 16th June 2004 the Senate appointed the Selection Committee to inquire into and report by October 31, 2004 on the following matters:

  1. The provisions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Amendment Bill 2004
  2. The proposed administration of Indigenous programs and services by mainstream government departments and agencies
  3. Related matters. The committee has now received a total of one hundred and eighty nine submissions and has held the following public hearings:
  • Canberra 29 June
  • Alice Springs 20 July
  • Broome 22 July
  • Darwin 24 August
  • Gove 25 August
  • Thursday Island 26 August
  • Cairns 27 August

Due to the prorogation of the Parliament the Committee will not be able to complete its report as intended.

The second letter was from Territory Liberal Senator Nigel Scullion. It was dispatched on behalf of himself, and the other two Government senators on the committee - Bill Heffernan and David Johnston.

It was headed: Government Senators Dissenting Report. This is what he wrote:

The Government members of the Committee are pleased to present their interim report on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Amendment Bill 2004.

The Government members are disappointed that the majority interim report provides no information other than the number of submissions received and public hearings conducted.


The majority interim report does not mention that in the submissions received and hearings there has been little support expressed for ATSIC. The Chairman has already made this finding public through the media.

The Leader of the ALP has said that ATSIC should be abolished and therefore agrees with the Government position as outlined in the bill.

The bill does nothing more than abolish the ATSIC Board and provide a year of consultation to arrive at more acceptable representative arrangements to replace ATSIC at the regional level.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. All

First published in the National Indigenous Times in October 2004.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Brian Johnstone is a columnist for the National Indigenous Times. He was Director of Media and Marketing at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission between April 1998 and December 2002. Before taking up that position he was a senior advisor to former Federal Labor Minister, Senator Bob Collins, and a senior correspondent with Australian Associated Press.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Brian Johnstone
Related Links
Coalition's Indigenous Affairs Policy
National Indigenous Times
Photo of Brian Johnstone
Article Tools
Comment Comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy