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Reparations for aboriginies in Australia

 
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 05:50 pm
Huh... I don't know off the top of my head. A friend of mine was very involved in this in the late 80's -- I don't think it had happened by then and I don't think it's happened since, but I'm really not sure. Will Google a bit myself...
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 05:54 pm
http://www.fcnl.org/issues/item.php?item_id=1008&issue_id=111

It seems like something was passed in 2005? I don't remember a big deal being made about it if so.

http://brownback.senate.gov/pressapp/record.cfm?id=240054
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 05:55 pm
sozobe wrote:
Huh... I don't know off the top of my head. A friend of mine was very involved in this in the late 80's -- I don't think it had happened by then and I don't think it's happened since, but I'm really not sure. Will Google a bit myself...


Thanks...(don't want to derail thread by this, but there was a comment from an American saying about bloody time...which is bloody true...but made me feel mildly miffed if you guys hadn't done it..what with the similar history and all...)
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 05:58 pm
Brownback seems to be very involved -- what's confusing is that it seems like new things keep being passed. 2005, 2007, 2008... different? Stronger? Other ones came up against some sort of wall? Not clear.

This one's from TODAY:
http://brownback.senate.gov/pressapp/record.cfm?id=293090

Quote:
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today applauded passage of an amendment to the Indian Health Care Bill offering an official apology from the United States federal government to Native Americans. Senator Brownback has been calling for an apology since 2004.

"With this apology, the federal government can repair and improve our relationship with Native Americans," said Brownback. "While we cannot erase the past, this amendment hopefully helps heal the wounds that have divided America for too long."


2007:

http://brownback.senate.gov/pressapp/record.cfm?id=274116

But that all amounts to a long-winded extension of "I don't know," so I'll stop unless I find something really conclusive.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 06:02 pm
sozobe wrote:
Brownback seems to be very involved -- what's confusing is that it seems like new things keep being passed. 2005, 2007, 2008... different? Stronger? Other ones came up against some sort of wall? Not clear.

This one's from TODAY:
http://brownback.senate.gov/pressapp/record.cfm?id=293090

Quote:
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today applauded passage of an amendment to the Indian Health Care Bill offering an official apology from the United States federal government to Native Americans. Senator Brownback has been calling for an apology since 2004.

"With this apology, the federal government can repair and improve our relationship with Native Americans," said Brownback. "While we cannot erase the past, this amendment hopefully helps heal the wounds that have divided America for too long."


2007:

http://brownback.senate.gov/pressapp/record.cfm?id=274116

But that all amounts to a long-winded extension of "I don't know," so I'll stop unless I find something really conclusive.



You're kind, I am very interested, but got baffled by all the references to bills......isn't an apology a STATEMENT????????
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vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 08:06 pm
Quote:
But do you think that the reparations issue is gonna get ugly?


Of course it will - though probably not too ugly, which would involve an overly large amount hypocrisy.

Most people recognise the futility of such compensation, even if they would claim it themselves. Free money almost never lasts, and in the vast majority of cases, the person is in a worse of place afterwards, than they were at the start (numerous Lotto studies have shown this, though I've never saved a single link)...for aborigines I think similar consequences would be an even higher percentage of such 'failures' because of the comparative base levels of education and money nouse.

People also recognise greed in many claims, and what they will see is aborigines as a group being greedy (never mind most would do the same). How can that be good for the unity of the country?

Then there will be the issue of comparative justice among the plaintiffs, which each/many thinking them more deserving than the next, quite probably creating division within their own ranks.

And the ones that live on reserves where crime is through the roof...if they bought something nice, do you think such would last long before their dwelling got broken into, or they become victims of a violent crime or something similar - due to jealousy of sudden wealth?

I personally think compensation would be detrimental to the vast majority of aborigines. I have no grudge with them claiming, because that's the way the system works - everyone is entitled to sue for such...but it's also a system that I think is wrong and detrimental to society, and, to aborigines in particular (and in relation to the subject compo claims), will be even more detrimental
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2008 12:52 am
vikorr wrote:
Quote:
But do you think that the reparations issue is gonna get ugly?


Of course it will - though probably not too ugly, which would involve an overly large amount hypocrisy.

Most people recognise the futility of such compensation, even if they would claim it themselves. Free money almost never lasts, and in the vast majority of cases, the person is in a worse of place afterwards, than they were at the start (numerous Lotto studies have shown this, though I've never saved a single link)...for aborigines I think similar consequences would be an even higher percentage of such 'failures' because of the comparative base levels of education and money nouse.

People also recognise greed in many claims, and what they will see is aborigines as a group being greedy (never mind most would do the same). How can that be good for the unity of the country?

Then there will be the issue of comparative justice among the plaintiffs, which each/many thinking them more deserving than the next, quite probably creating division within their own ranks.

And the ones that live on reserves where crime is through the roof...if they bought something nice, do you think such would last long before their dwelling got broken into, or they become victims of a violent crime or something similar - due to jealousy of sudden wealth?

I personally think compensation would be detrimental to the vast majority of aborigines. I have no grudge with them claiming, because that's the way the system works - everyone is entitled to sue for such...but it's also a system that I think is wrong and detrimental to society, and, to aborigines in particular (and in relation to the subject compo claims), will be even more detrimental



I think you have said pretty much what I think.......though I understand that individuals abused once taken have (and always have had) the legal right to make a complaint about illegal treatment (such as sexual abuse by carers etc.), and to claim compensation for that. I assume they also have the right to sue organisations that provided care, where there was abuse, for failure of duty of care.


The welfare folk have been sued quite frequently by foster kids placed in abusive environments, and the yard stick is whether the departments have acted in accord with the practices prevailing at the time.

That's often been tough for people (the adoptive aunt of a friend of mine killed herself after failing in just such a suit) because the CURRENT index of suspicion re, for instance, sexual abuse, is so high. When the woman I speak of was adopted out, ignorance of sexual abuse was the norm, and the fact that the adoptive father had convictions for sexual offences in the UK was neither known to the Australian authorities, nor was it expected practice to check such things.



I also completely understand the feelings of aboriginal of folk who feel entitled to reparations. Sigh.


I have seen so much damage done to folk seeking compensation for so many things, and I cannot argue against your points. personally, I have very consciously NOT gone down the path of Workcover for injuries for which I was legally likely entitled to claim it, but where pre-existing injury would have complicated things. I'd rather pay from my own pocket than get into the horror of the adversarial system. But then, I CAN pay.

I also take your point about a culture of suing and blame paralysing good people. In my field, for instance, it is so easy to get into practice that is more about bum-covering than anything useful and courageous. However, it is also salutory and necessary to remember, always, about those good intentions and the road to hell!





It will be interesting to watch this all play out.




By the way....is anyone else reeling from the mistakes Brendan Nelson made?


These people were in government for ELEVEN YEARS, and he hasn't grasped, nor had advisers who grasped, the ways in which his speech was deeply distressing? Nor that you do not use the stories with which aboriginal people entrust you unless you have their permission and support in doing so????



We were discussing the speech at work, and I wondered if these fairly comfortable white men have not been so traumatised as they have been exposed to the true horror of so many people's lives, that they have spoken more from traumatic re-enactment than from the more integrated parts of themselves??????


Although, as a doctor, you would think that Brendan would have been exposed to the harsher realities of life?
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2008 08:15 pm
Nelson was an idiot for saying what he did. John Howard's ghost walks among us.

What we (myself included) forget is that the apology was to the stolen generation, not to our indigenous population generally.

Mrs Hinge had a take on Nelson's stance that made me spit my wheaties all over Laurie Oakes:

Nelson "We're sorry we f*cked you over, but now you're f*cked."
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dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2008 08:46 pm
I'm not ignoring this thread I just don't have anything to contribute.

My country is Taungerong. I know some of the descendants of the original people. There ere very few left in this area and for that I am sorry.
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hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2008 09:24 pm
I've gone off topic (again). As far as reparations go I think we should leave it to the court system. I don't like the idea of a flat fee to each individual.

I am curious what the difference in average life span is between the stolen and the not stolen indigenous population.

Maybe a nice legal firm will offer up a class action pro bono?
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vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2008 01:05 am
Don't you mean No Win, No Fee? Confused
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2008 01:27 am
hingehead wrote:
I've gone off topic (again). As far as reparations go I think we should leave it to the court system. I don't like the idea of a flat fee to each individual.

I am curious what the difference in average life span is between the stolen and the not stolen indigenous population.


At least one Aboriginal Legal Rights Service (NSW, from memory?????) has announced support for reparations.



Whether that support, in notoriously overwhelmed services, amounts to running a case is moot, I would think....

I also assume they are governemnt funded?
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Feb, 2008 06:13 pm
How much of this issue centers around the "Lost Generation"? Is this almost exclusively about those policies or is it about general mistreatment to the indigenous peoples?
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Feb, 2008 06:26 pm
Robert Gentel wrote:
How much of this issue centers around the "Lost Generation"? Is this almost exclusively about those policies or is it about general mistreatment to the indigenous peoples?


That's exactly the point that (aboriginal activist) Gary Foley made on ABC radio on "Sorry Day", Robert. He sees most of the issues bedevilling aboriginal people today as stemming from the original "white invasion" of Australia, with the stolen generations being merely the (more recent) tip of the iceberg.
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Feb, 2008 06:29 pm
I'd agree with him. And thanks for correcting my "lost generation" mixup (should be "stolen generation" as you note). I'd just been reading about Hemingway.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Feb, 2008 06:37 pm
Robert Gentel wrote:
How much of this issue centers around the "Lost Generation"? Is this almost exclusively about those policies or is it about general mistreatment to the indigenous peoples?


I do not think that is entirely clear.

The apology was to the Stolen Generations (not "lost"), but clearly it also embraced general acknowledgement of wrongs done, as you can see.


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology motion has been tabled in Parliament:

Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.




Here's the report about them:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/special/rsjproject/rsjlibrary/hreoc/stolen/


I think the debate is dual....there is specific discussion of reparations to the stolen generation, many of whom are alive, as are many who abused them.


There is also debate about reparations generally....the "pay the rent" approach...people who want reparations for the last 230 years.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Feb, 2008 06:39 pm
msolga wrote:
Robert Gentel wrote:
How much of this issue centers around the "Lost Generation"? Is this almost exclusively about those policies or is it about general mistreatment to the indigenous peoples?


That's exactly the point that (aboriginal activist) Gary Foley made on ABC radio on "Sorry Day", Robert. He sees most of the issues bedevilling aboriginal people today as stemming from the original "white invasion" of Australia, with the stolen generations being merely the (more recent) tip of the iceberg.



Sorry, Msolga, you posted while I composed.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Feb, 2008 07:15 pm
(Thanks for posting. I was wanting to find this thread again to throw in my two bob's worth on repatriation & couldn't locate it again....)

My thinking on repatriation is rather confused, I'm afraid. I wish things were more clear, or straight forward, but ....
On one hand, I believe that all Australians should be treated in the same way under the law. So if the stolen generations had children removed against their will, if numbers of those children were abused & some had wages withheld from them, then they should have the right to appeal to the courts for redress, like any other Australians can & do. Of course.

But, on the other hand, there are pressing concerns which need to be addressed, urgently. Recognizing that available funds are finite, should the emphasis be on addressing the urgent health, education & housing issues that many Australian aborigines live with now? ... whether they are from the stolen generations or not? It is clearly unacceptable that, on average, the life expectancy of aborigines is 17 years less than whites in this country. How to address this basic health issue & other concerns like inadequate education opportunity, the level of dysfunction of many aboriginal communities, inadequate housing ... etc, etc, etc ?

The Rudd government's approach appears to be to try to address the health/education/housing concerns, rather than redressing the abuse of the stolen generations (through compensation). Opting for a better future, rather than compensating for the past, terrible though the past was. But it worries me how these "improvements" will actually be carried out . How much real consultation will there be with the communities involved? How much real cooperation will there be from aboriginal communities? How to tackle the problems of alcohol abuse & dysfunction? How to gain trust & active cooperation from the very people the government is trying to assist? The very last thing we need is a new form of Big Brother telling aboriginal people what they must do, for their own good. That hasn't worked in the past (obviously) & it won't work now. This is a huge challenge (say nothing of a very expensive one, which will take time) for all of us.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Feb, 2008 07:18 pm
dlowan wrote:
Sorry, Msolga, you posted while I composed.


Absolutely no need to say "sorry" to me, Deb! :wink:
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dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Feb, 2008 07:33 pm
I saw Phil Fontain (Assembly of First Nations) Canada on TY the other night.

February 12, 2008

AFN National Chief Congratulates Australia's Indigenous Peoples on Government Apology to its Stolen Generations

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Phil Fontaine today expressed overwhelming joy to the Indigenous peoples of Australia and congratulated Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for issuing an apology for the "Stolen Generations" as the first order of business by the new government.

"This apology is monumental for our Indigenous brothers and sisters in Australia, and throughout the world on righting a great wrong," stated AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine. "First Nations in Canada applaud the Australian government for its demonstrated leadership on issuing this long awaited and profound apology. The forced removal of children from their parents was the most egregious of human rights violations imaginable, causing enormous harms."

Its worth reading the whole speach

I note that Fontain seems rather pleased with the 1.9 billion reparations fund. It would be worth looking at how this is administered and the practical results achieved.
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