Compensation?

Compensate now posterAlthough Indigenous Australians and many others welcome the Apology there are outstanding issues which many think should be addressed. Many think the Stolen Generations should receive compensation.

Recommendation 3 of the Bringing Them Home report states:

"Components of reparations

3. That, for the purposes of responding to the effects of forcible removals, 'compensation' be widely defined to mean 'reparation'; that reparation be made in recognition of the history of gross violations of human rights; and that the van Boven principles guide the reparation measures. Reparation should consist of,

  1. acknowledgment and apology,
  2. guarantees against repetition,
  3. measures of restitution,
  4. measures of rehabilitation, and
  5. monetary compensation. "

In the days following the announcement that an Apology would be made the Government expressly noted that there would be no compensation offered to the Stolen Generations as there was unfinished business in Indigenous affairs which would take time to work on.

During the Senate debate on the Apology motion, Senator Bob Brown of the Greens, proposed an amendment to the Apology motion, committing to offering ‘just compensation’, however the motion was decisively beaten.

On 24 September 2008 the Greens introduced a Bill into the Senate, proposing a Stolen Generations Reparations Tribunal.

The Tasmanian Parliament compensated the Stolen Generations and Redress schemes were set up in Western Australia and Queensland for all children who were abused in state institutional care. Tasmania has set up an Abuse in Care trust fund.

"We don’t want to be asking for another Apology in 20 years"

The opening of the new Parliament with a new government was a time when other important Indigenous issues were brought to Canberra. The Convergence on Canberra was held, an event organised by the Aboriginal Rights Coalition to protest about the Northern Territory intervention and the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act. There was a feeling that despite the good intentions of the intervention, the government may have to apologise in twenty years time to those whose human rights have been denied in the Northern Territory under the intervention.