The “I was stolen” season again
While ever the Aboriginal industry remains in a state of perpetual ‘victimhood’ there will be no unification of all Australians. It is annoying how the tales of woe are promulgated with a passion soothed only by the sweet balm of genuflecting whites shoving cash in hand. Their constant cry of difficulty is insignificant when compared with the volume of separated families to all parts of the world of Europeans during WWII, so many never to be reunited. The cremation of six million mothers, fathers and children in Hitler’s ovens makes light of those Aborigines that were removed from the dangers of their own parents. The fools that perpetuate this charade of guilt-hurling upon white Australians has run its course as sympathies are lost through constant complaint, ingratitude and public threats to “burn and f**k” Australia. Millions more this week on top of the annual taxpayer slug of $30 billion is being splashed around by the government. We were assured saying ‘sorry’ would put end to the nonsense—it didn’t. It should be we who now deserve an apology.
It has taken Michael Welsh a lifetime to face up to the trauma of being torn from his mother and siblings, but the apology, delivered a decade ago, helped him to heal. “It’s made a big difference to me in my life, through my life, where I’ve journeyed, it’s made a difference to my children, and my brother and sisters,” he said. “It was a magical moment for me.”
Stolen Generation survivors return to Parliament House to relive apology
He was just eight years old when he was taken from his mother by welfare officers at their home in Coonamble in the central west of New South Wales, in the 1960s.
He did not see his mother again until he was 17.
‘Years later, what’s changed?’
The national apology was supposed to be life-changing. So why is it now a bittersweet memory for the survivors?
Mr Welsh and other surviving members of the Stolen Generations will return to Parliament House in Canberra today, to relive the day the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said sorry.
In 2008, Mr Rudd described the forced removal of Aboriginal children as “a blemished chapter in our nation’s history”.
During an emotive speech, as the nation watched on, Mr Rudd said successive governments had inflicted “profound suffering and loss” by removing tens of thousands of Indigenous children over several decades.
Richard Weston, chief executive of support organisation the Healing Foundation, said the national apology was a vindication for the Stolen Generations.
“It finally was a proper acknowledgement of the atrocities and the hurt and pain that they experienced,” Mr Weston said.
“For the Prime Minister to give the national apology, say sorry in the Australian Parliament, and have that broadcast across the nation was really significant and it was a step in the right direction.”
Compensation has since been paid to some eligible survivors in New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania, and the South Australian Government established a $6 million fund last year.
But Mr Weston said the Stolen Generations were frustrated that there has never been a national compensation scheme, and ageing survivors feared the Government had forgotten them.
“We need national leadership to ensure Stolen Children all over Australia have access to an equitable scheme,” Mr Weston said.
“We’ve seen a redress scheme for the victims of child sexual abuse but, to date, the Government’s been silent with regards to the Stolen Generations.”
Mr Welsh said Stolen Generations groups had limited funding to deliver programs to reunite families who were fractured by the removal of children.
“We are still coming back together to be healed up from the breakdown of our family structure,” he said.
“There’s a lot more work that needs to be done, we would appreciate it if they involved us more, when they’re coming up with policies, to ask us and walk down the same line as us.
“Because we do know our pain and we do know how to heal it.”
The Healing Foundation estimates about 20,000 Stolen Generations survivors are still alive, with about 100,000 second generation descendants spread across Australia.
The Federal Government is funding new research by the Healing Foundation to assess how trauma is affecting ageing Stolen Generations survivors and their children.
“We need to understand the trauma that has affected the lives of Stolen Generations, but how that has been passed on to their family members.”
In 1997, Bringing Them Home — a national inquiry into the Stolen Generations — estimated that as many as one in three Indigenous children were removed from their families between 1910 and the 1970s.
Children were taken from their homes or on their way to school to be put into institutions, fostered or adopted out to non-Indigenous families.
The inquiry made 54 recommendations, but 21 years on, the Healing Foundation said many had been implemented poorly or not at all.