The class action launched on behalf of Northern Territory Stolen Generation survivors will continue, despite the announcement of the Territories Redress Scheme.
Aboriginal leader, Nyunggai Warren Mundine is the director of Litigation Lending Services (LLS) who are supporting the lawsuit.
“We love it that that the government has come and made this redress, but for us it is not the full redress because it is only for people who are living now,” Mundine said.
“We believe that people have passed away, their family should also be part of the redress, so we will be looking at continuing our action until everyone who should be compensated and should be looked after [has been].”
The class action is seeking compensation for members for the Stolen Generation in the Northern Territory for their removal from their families between 1910 and the 1970’s.
“I gotta say, I think I’m a big, hairy man who’s very stoic, but when I was up in the Northern Territory and listening to the lawyers do the interviews [with victims], I was brought to tears … the stories were horrific,” he said.
He said though the Redress Scheme is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t cast a wide enough net.
“We’re feeling that it was a good gesture, and I’m really happy that those living people are gonna get money through this redress,” he said
“You’ve got to praise the government for this because even though it was probably 50-years a bit behind the eight ball – they got there.
“But at the same time, it’s not full justice for these people.”
The Redress Scheme offers a one-off $70 000 payment to living members of the Stolen Generation, along with the opportunity to tell their story in full and receive a personal apology from the Federal Government.
Mundine said it’s not just those still living that were affected by the forced removals, the families of survivors of the Stolen Generation who passed away before the Redress Scheme was introduced still deserve to be compensated for the ongoing impact of the intergenerational trauma.
“It’s about making sure that that everyone was there that was affected by this policy are all looked after,” he said.
“So we’ve got [compensation for] the living Stolen Generation people and that’s great, but we need to look at the people who have passed away, and their families.”
He said that though no compensation will ever truly be enough, he will continue to fight for mob.
“To me this is very personal; even though none of my family had been taken away. It is about the opportunities, the lives that these people could have had, that were denied by this policy,” he said.
“We say you can never really give true justice back to these people, but we’re sure going to fight to see that they get the justice they deserve.”
Shine Lawyers are leading the class action, however are not able to comment at this time.
By Sarah Smit