June 25th, 2009 at 11:21pm
Apologising to the “stolen generation” of Aboriginals was a bad idea which would set a dangerous precedent. Well, it looks like it did just that, and has created an open invitation for people to blame the government for everything which happened their childhood, and demand compensation for it.
The federal government should apologise to children who were abused and assaulted in institutional care, a parliamentary report recommends.
The new report recommends the government apologise to the victims, as previously recommended in Forgotten Australians.
The government should request apologies and redress from relevant church and religious agencies, which it said showed “a lack of proper acknowledgment of the issues raised” in the original reports.
The government should also provide further financial support for former child migrants to re-establish family connections, the report said.
Whilst there wasn’t a large crowd of weeping people outside parliament house today, as there was for Kevin Rudd’s apology to aboriginal children, there was a large enough weeping crowd in the public gallery.
Around 100 people who were in the public galleries clapped and cried as the report was handed down.
I suppose we can wait and see how many turn up if Kevin decides to apologise to this group as well.
One thing’s for sure though, based on the television footage, this lot are much angrier than the aboriginals were, although why they have decided to blame the government is beyond me…perhaps it’s because the government has a lot more money to spare than charitable organisations.
ABC Radio’s AM program pre-empted the release of the report the other day, and Jim Luthy, one of the apparently hard-done-by, seems to sum up the misguided anger of the group:
“It was identified as one of the most brutal homes in New South Wales. So that’s how I ended up there. My mother died, my father shot through, for no other reason than that you could just be virtually kidnapped and taken off the streets and placed into a home.”
Your parents disappeared from your life, you were a kid on the streets, and you don’t think this is a good enough reason for you to be placed in care? The only difference these days is that you would be placed in foster care which, whilst having the benefit of a closer relationship with your carer, is much harder to regulate.
I can understand your frustration and anger Jim, but rather than jumping on the “stolen generation’s” bandwagon and blaming the government for the way you were treated, take your group, get some lawyers, and launch class actions against the people and/or organisations responsible. If various governments happen to be one of your targets then so be it.
Do this properly, and if you have a case, the courts will make sure that you are properly compensated. Trying to push the entire blame on to the government, and trying to make them cough up for your compensation, rather than making the people who are truly guilty pay, will only punish innocent taxpayers (of which I assume you are one).
Let the courts do their job of being impartial, apportioning blame and setting out a compensation schedule. That is the role of the courts, not of the government. If it is then found that the government has something to apologise for, then let them apologise.
In a case where blame, if there is any, is even more widely spread than was the case with the “stolen generation”, the government apologising before a court has made a decision would be plain stupid. One can only hope that Kevin Rudd understands this…although based on the federal government’s statement that it:
is committed to acknowledging the past hurt caused by Government actions
on the AM program, I doubt that he has learned his lesson from the Stolen Generation fiasco.