Senator Siewert explained that her amendment would have "reverse[d] the onus of proof so that native title holders do not have to prove continuity." Under this amendment "[t]here is a presumption of continuity ... [and] the state government and those opposing a claim have to prove otherwise." You can read Senator Siewert's whole explanation of the amendment and the associated debate here.
Background to the bill
The bill amends the _ Native Title Act 1993_ to:
- enable the Federal Court to determine whether the court, the National Native Title Tribunal, or another individual/body should mediate native title claims;
- specify the manner in which mediations are conducted;
- change powers of the court in relation to agreed statements of fact and consent orders;
- enable native title proceedings to rely on new evidence rules;
- vary the operation of representative bodies, including their recognition and removal of transitional arrangements; and
- make minor and technical amendments.
Read more about native title in Australia here.