AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Paul Keating dismissed fears that the concept of giving aborigines title to native land could put the country's agriculture and mining industries at risk.
Keating was responding to a leading conservative politician's warning that the high court ruling, which handed ownership of government land to aborigines, would reduce Australia to "a group of funny little states". He added the ruling provided an opportunity for reconciliation between black and white Australians and would go a long way in assuaging the settlers' guilt about the way the continent's original inhabitants were treated.
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