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Alternative Law Journal

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Editors --- "Legal Studies" [2000] AltLawJl 30; (2000) 25(2) Alternative Law Journal 78


Bringing Them Home

'Bringing Them Home-Community Guide' is a guide to the findings and recommendations of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families and is published on the web at < html> . The Inquiry concluded that every Indigenous family felt the impact of the forcible removal of a child and that removal involved human rights breaches.

'Governments have a responsibility to respond with "reparation" to those affected.' The reparations recommended included an apology and monetary compensation.

• Do you agree with the recommendation of an apology? Who should make an apology and for what?

• Do you agree with the recommendation of compensation? Who should receive compensation and how should it be measured?

The Commonwealth Government submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Stolen Generation is published on the web at <> . The Commonwealth rejected the views in Bringing Them Home. 'The proportion of separated Aboriginal children was no more than 10 percent, including those who were not forcibly separated and those who were forcibly separated for good reason, as occurs under child welfare policies today. There was never a "generation"of stolen children ... The Commonwealth ... does assert that the nature and intent of [past] events have been misrepresented, and that the treatment of separated Aboriginal children was essentially lawful and benign in intent and also reflected wider values applying to children of that era ... Emotional reaction to heart-wrenching stories is understandable, but it is impossible to evaluate by contemporary standards decisions that were taken in the past.'

• Do you agree that if no more than 10% of Aboriginal children were removed from their families then it is inaccurate to use the expression 'stolen generation'?

• Do you agree that Aboriginal people were treated in accordance with the 'standards of the day' and that claims should not be assessed by contemporary standards?

Further reading

The Reconciliation and Social Justice Library on the web at < rsjlibrary/majorboldings.html> has links to a lot of relevant material.

Also, the Australian National Library database APA1S can be used to identify newspaper articles. Writers include Robert Manne (Sydney Morning Herald and the Age) and Ron Brunton (Courier-Mail, The Australian).

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