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13 April 2024

Australian Aborigines to claim compensation after apology

By Agencies


Dozens of Aborigines are preparing compensation claims after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised this week for past injustices, an indigenous spokeswoman said on Friday.


Those planning to launch court action were victims of the so-called "Stolen Generations" policies under which Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their families, Lyn Austin told ABC radio.


"I do know that there are 30 or 40 that are going to be doing a civil action claim" in the southern state of Victoria, said Austin, head of "Stolen Generations Victoria".


"I believe there are others happening in other states," she said.


"It should be left for the courts and people to have that choice and make a choice of whether they take a civil claim individually or (a) class action."


Rudd singled out the "Stolen Generations" for particular apology when he said sorry in an historic parliamentary address Wednesday for a range of injustices committed against Aborigines over two centuries of white settlement.


The prime minister ruled out the establishment of a fund to pay compensation, but there is nothing to stop victims taking their cases to court.


In August last year an Aboriginal man removed from his family as a baby in 1958 won 525,000 dollars ($448,717; Dh1.6 billion) compensation in the South Australia Supreme Court in the first successful case of its kind.


The island state of Tasmania last month approved five million dollars in compensation for 106 members of the "Stolen Generations".


Up to 50,000 mainly mixed-race children were taken from their families until 1970 in a bid to assimilate them into white society while full-blooded Aborigines were expected to die out. (AFP)