Indigenous leaders used the anniversary yesterday of a landmark human rights report on past racist policies to ratchet up pressure on the government to pay compensation to Aborigines who suffered injustice.
On May 26, 1997, the government’s human rights commission released a report condemning past policies that took tens of thousands of mostly mixed-race Aborigines from their mothers in a bid to make them grow up like white Australians.
Then-Australian prime minister John Howard rejected the report’s two key recommendations — a government apology and compensation for victims who suffered abuse and injustice under these assimilation policies that existed from 1910 until the early 1970s.
The anniversary of the report is marked by National Sorry Day, which commemorates the forcible removal of children from their families and the devastating effects that had on lives.
New Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd moved an apology to the so-called Stolen Generations through Parliament in February but resisted calls for compensation.
The 10th National Sorry Day has for the first time shifted its focus from calls for an apology to a need for compensation.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma said yesterday the government should not “cherry pick” the report’s recommendations.
Western Australia state Aboriginal leader Jim Morrison called for compensation for individuals plus government money for culturally appropriate services and counseling for Aborigines.
Rudd gave a speech marking the day at Parliament House without mentioning compensation.
“It’s very difficult to read that report and not be moved by it,” he said. “The good part of the ... report was it enabled us as a nation to begin to reflect on what had happened, to begin to reflect on how we as a nation could make amends for past wrongs.”
Rudd also unveiled a plaque inscribed with the wording of the apology motion, which will be put on permanent display in Parliament House.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete