Indigenous Australians

Bill Shorten calls for Commonwealth to compensate Stolen Generations

Earlier today, Bill Shorten suggested the Commonwealth provide compensation for victims of the Stolen Generation.

Now, as I’ve detailed before, the idea of the Stolen Generations: that white Australians historically ‘stole’ half- caste children away from Indigenous mothers to diminish the Aboriginal race, is totally fictitious.

But even if this did occur, and that we can equally compare 1930’s Australia to Hitler’s Germany, then what is the issue with Shorten’s proposal?

First, it is ridiculous to assign the federal government healing duties for actions that states were allegedly responsible for. As prior to the 1967 referendum on Aboriginal rights, the federal government had negligible influence in Indigenous affairs. So while the supposed Stolen Generations was at its peak between 1920- 1967, state jurisdictions dealt with their Indigenous people in differing ways.

Given this, Shorten’s view of Indigenous people as a single monolith, and his assuming that similar treatment was prescribed to all Aboriginals in the past, is incredibly foolish.

Pretending that Indigenous people maintain a monopoly over unfair treatment is also misleading. Irish, Chinese, Italian, Greek and Vietnamese people were all treated harshly at different points. And if we are going to list every group that had atrocities committed against them, we can be sure that the convicts didn’t receive royal treatment either. Likewise, once upon a time, single mothers could be forced by the church to give up their children. All kinds of different injustices have occurred, committed by institutions such as the police, the government, and many others.

So what is the sense in reserving a unique status for Aboriginal people?

However, a far bigger problem than past legal technicalities, in addition to recognition of other forms of unfairness, lies at heart.

After years of apologies, virtue- signalling and nation- wide imposed shame, I am still yet to hear Shorten, or any other regressive politician, state at which point our country can finally be allowed to heal its sins of the past.

At what time can we move forward into a multi- ethnic, cohesive Australia with hopeful minds for the future, and become unburdened by our past?

Personally, I suspect that Shorten doesn’t believe in the merit of what he is saying, rather, his language is mere red meat to throw out for the severely regressive parts of his party.

It was this exact Leftist, overly self- critical viewpoint which saw Kevin Rudd formally apologize for the Stolen Generations 9 years ago.

At the time, I was young and everyone appeared to be overjoyed by the news of Rudd’s apology.

So I went along with the rest of the crowd, applauded Kevin Rudd for his apology, and genuinely believed that Australia was set for a more united, positive future.

However, circumstances have since been contrary to this prediction, whilst problems for Indigenous people have only worsened.

If history is anything for a guide, promoting the existence of a permanent grievance- industry for Indigenous Australians, has done nothing but harm their outlook.

Shorten would do well to move past supporting headline- grabbing rhetoric, and instead move toward developing policies, which genuinely assist Indigenous Australians out of their terrible present mess..

10 thoughts on “Bill Shorten calls for Commonwealth to compensate Stolen Generations

  1. That would require you do the hard work of engaging the books that historians have written on this issue, which show the stolen generation phenomenon to be an incontestable truth in Australia, and indigenous adoption and removal in the US and Canada. You can do your own research to pose your own interpretation of it and join the conversation. I’d also recommend Ann McGrath’s book Illicit Love, as well as Gregory Smithers’ new edition of Science, Sexuality, and Race in the US and Australia as well. The research and facts in these works are the basis for that common ground, not the moral equivalencies you make above. It’s better to acknowledge that specific events happen to different racial and ethnic groups, that makes for the common ground, then everyone can move on, rather than try to deny an event did happen.

    1. I’m happy to debate whether or not the stolen generations occurred in the ways it is talked about. Anytime. But my point about shortens calls was not about whether or not these events happened. It is about whether or not reparations would serve Australian and indigenous peoples interests, which clearly it would not.

    2. Well, the model is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Like the US, it’s doubtful that reparations will result in Australia despite the 1997 report, for example, slave reparations in the US or reparations in the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921, which were not approved due to a statue of limitations in federal district court. However, most groups experience social mobility by the transfer of inter-generational capital, so de jure racism historically is menacing in undermining an ethnic groups’ ability to seek equal access to free employment opportunities in society, and obtain economic security and social mobility. That’s the legacy of societies built on de jure racial exclusion, and in their aftermath, de facto racial exclusion. Australia’s government has bit farther to go in reconciling its treatment of aboriginal peoples, particularly the acknowledgment of cultural genocide. You’re right that reparations will probably not materialize.

  2. We can count on the Lunatic Left being the same on every continent … In the U.S., they call for “reparations” to blacks for being victims of 18th and 19th century slavery …

  3. There are two works that definitively show these claims of yours to be untrue, Margaret Jacobs, White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940 (University of Nebraska Press, 2009), which won Columbia University’s The Bancroft Prize in History, one of the most prestigious prizes in the world historical profession; and also her other book A Generation Removed: The Fostering and Adoption of Indigenous Children in the Postwar World (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). The percentage of indigenous children removed from their homes ranged between 25% to 35% between 1950 and 1978, when at least in the US, the Indian Child Welfare Act was passed by the Congress.

    1. Well I encourage you to read my previous posts about this. But, I certainly understand that my view is in the minority (in regards to whether or not the stolen generations occurred). But couldn’t we at least seek common ground on how to move forward to the future, as isn’t this more important?

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