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Australian government to consider funding legal bid over Aboriginal remains testing

The Australian government is considering whether to get involved in the arguments surrounding the proposed testing [1] to be carried out on Aboriginal remains in Britain’s Natural History Museum.

ABC News (Australia) [2]

Last Update: Tuesday, February 13, 2007. 9:00pm (AEDT)
Govt to consider funding legal bid for Aboriginal remains

The Federal Government says it is happy to consider a request to help fund a legal bid to stop the testing of Tasmanian Aboriginal remains held by a British museum.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) has accused the Government of shirking its responsibility.

The British Natural History Museum has agreed to return the remains of 17 Tasmanian Aborigines, but first it wants to test and take samples from them.

TAC spokesman Michael Mansell says Britain’s High Court has granted a temporary injunction against testing, but the TAC needs the Federal Government to agree to cover court costs, if a bid for a permanent ban is unsuccessful.

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says his staff sent Mr Mansell funding application forms, but nothing has happened.

“We’ll look forward to seeing what they write, when we get it. If we get it,” he said.

He says the Government has a longstanding commitment to repatriating Aboriginal remains.