ASIO was in­volved in as­sess­ing “pos­si­ble sig­nals in­tel­li­gence ac­tiv­ity” by the Rus­sian em­bassy in Can­berra ... de­tails re­main clas­si­fied

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - MATTHEW KILLORAN

A DEAD rat in the mail, ar­son, and de­bate that made the Don­ald Trump elec­tion cam­paign “look like the free-flow­ing milk of hu­man kind­ness” marred the Aus­tralian po­lit­i­cal landscape as the Keat­ing govern­ment re­acted to the his­toric Mabo judg­ment.

The High Court de­ci­sion on the Mabo V Queens­land case re­sulted in the first recog­ni­tion of na­tive ti­tle and Abo­rig­i­nal land rights.

The govern­ment’s re­sponse is re­vealed as part of sealed Cab­i­net pa­pers from 1992 and 1993.

Then Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der Af­fairs min­is­ter Robert Tick­ner said an early bi­par­ti­san ap­proach was shat­tered by the 1993 elec­tion, in which Paul Keat­ing’s ALP govern­ment re­tained of­fice.

He said there were vit­ri­olic at­tacks and mis­in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing that peo­ple would lose their back­yards to na­tive ti­tle claims, while the min­ing in­dus­try ap­plied pres­sure op­pos­ing changes to politi­cians.

“Some of it makes the de­bate dur­ing the Don­ald Trump elec­tion cam­paign look like the free-flow­ing milk of hu­man kind­ness,” Mr Tick­ner said. “I had a dead rat sent to me in the mail, my elec­torate of­fice was par­tially de­stroyed in an ar­son at­tack, and I had re­peated death threats, which re­sulted in guards be­ing placed on my home.”

The Keat­ing govern­ment also had to re­spond to the Royal Com­mis­sion into Abo­rig­i­nal Deaths in Cus­tody, which Mr Tick­ner said was still rel­e­vant to­day.

“The num­bers of Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple in cus­tody and num­bers of Abo­rig­i­nal kids in de­ten­tion have gone through the roof.”

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