Practical follow on from apology – Stolen Generation Compensation Bill reintroduced into Senate

Democrats’ Indigenous Affairs spokesperson Senator Andrew Bartlett reintroduced his Stolen Generation Compensation Bill in the Senate today as a practical step to heal the hurt following yesterday’s historic apology to the Stolen Generation.

This Bill was first introduced as an exposure draft in March 2007 and then formally in September 2007 following public comment and recommendations from Indigenous groups and organisations on its practical application, scope and workability.

“This important piece of legislation recognises the vital need to address unfinished business and to do what’s right by our First Peoples,” Senator Bartlett said.

“This Bill offers a practical step that offers a solution to redress the ongoing harm caused by past wrongs and clear the path to healing.

“The government has shown its commitment to symbolically healing the hurt which is an important first step, but it is now time to deal practically with the unfinished business of many uncompleted recommendations from the Bringing Them Home report.

“The Bringing Them Home report relied on long standing principles regarding reparation in developing its recommendation regarding an apology, and made it clear that it is just one component of an integrated response which should include:
• Acknowledgement and apology
• Guarantees against repetition
• Measures of restitution
• Measures of rehabilitation, and
• Monetary compensation.

“We have gone some way on some of these measures, but compensation is clearly one area where, in most states, action has yet to occur.

“Victims of the Stolen Generation can never be fully compensated for these past wrongs but we can certainly provide a mechanism for some reparation and recognition of the great harm done. I urge the government and the opposition to look favourably on this Bill and show some leadership in giving Indigenous issues the practical priority they deserve,” Senator Bartlett concluded.

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