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Wednesday, 23 October 2002
Page: 5735

Senator RIDGEWAY (New South Wales) (3.44 p.m.)—as amended, by leave— I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Mrs Valerie Linow, an Aboriginal woman from New South Wales, was removed from her family at the age of 2 years and placed in children's homes in Bomaderry and then Cootamundra,

(ii) at the age of 14, Mrs Linow was placed on a rural property in New South Wales by the Aborigines Welfare Board and employed as a domestic worker,

(iii) Mrs Linow is the first member of the stolen generations to be awarded monetary compensation for the psychological trauma she suffered as a result of sexual assaults that occurred when she was employed as a domestic worker, and

(iv) by awarding Mrs Linow compen-sation of $35 000, the New South Wales Victims Compensation Tribunal is distinguished as the first judicial body in Australia's history to award compensation to a member of the stolen generations for harm that occurred while in state care;

(b) acknowledges that the success of Mrs Linow's case may give hope to other members of the stolen generations who suffered a similar fate and validate their conviction that the harm done to them does warrant and deserve compensation;

(c) regrets that the Government has provided members of the stolen generations no alternative to the adversarial, costly and protracted court system for the resolution of their claims, with the result that many claims will continue to be defeated because of the applicants' inability to produce the necessary documentation or the witnesses to substantiate their claims; and

(d) calls on the Government to:

(i) reconsider its opposition to the establishment of a more humane and compassionate response, particularly for those members of the stolen generations who have suffered harm as a consequence of the act of removal, and

(ii) establish a reparations tribunal for the stolen generations, as recommended in the Legal and Constitutional References Committee report on the stolen generations, Healing: A Legacy of Generations,the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the National Sorry Day Committee.

Question, as amended, be agreed to.