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Notice given 12 June 2007

799  Senator Bartlett: To move—That the Senate—

(a) notes that the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee report, Unfinished business: Indigenous stolen wages was tabled in the Senate on 7 December 2006;

(b) notes that the report contained six unanimous recommendations, as follows:

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government and state governments facilitate unhindered access to their archives for Indigenous people and their representatives for the purposes of researching the Indigenous stolen wages issue as a matter of urgency.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the Ministerial Council on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs agree on joint funding arrangements for:

(a) an education and awareness campaign in Indigenous communities in relation to stolen wages issues; and

(b) preliminary legal research on Indigenous stolen wages matters.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government provide funding in the next budget to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies to conduct a national oral history and archival project in relation to Indigenous stolen wages.

Recommendation 4

The committee recommends that:

(a) the Western Australian Government:

(i) urgently consult with Indigenous people in relation to the stolen wages issue; and

(ii) establish a compensation scheme in relation to withholding, underpayment and non-payment of Indigenous wages and welfare entitlements using the New South Wales scheme as a model, and

 

 (b) the Commonwealth Government conduct preliminary research of its archival material in relation to the stolen wages issues in Western Australia.

Recommendation 5

The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government in relation to the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, and the state governments of South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria:

(a) urgently consult with Indigenous people in relation to the stolen wages issue;

(b) conduct preliminary research of their archival material; and

(c) if this consultation and research reveals that similar practices operated in relation to the withholding, underpayment or non-payment of Indigenous wages and welfare entitlements in these states, then establish compensation schemes using the New South Wales scheme as a model.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends that the Queensland Government revise the terms of its reparations offer so that:

(a) Indigenous claimants are fully compensated for monies withheld from them;

(b) further time is provided for the lodgement of claims;

(c) claimants are able to rely on oral and other circumstantial evidence where the records held by the state are incomplete or are allegedly affected by fraud or forgery;

(d) new or further payments do not require claimants to indemnify the Queensland Government; and

(e) the descendants of claimants who died before 9 May 2002 are included within the terms of the offer.

(c) notes that the Federal Government has yet to respond to the report’s recommendations, more than 6 months after the report was tabled, and did not act on recommendation 3 in the 2007-08 Federal Budget;

(d) urges the Federal Government to table a response to the report in the Senate by 7 August 2007; and

(e) requests state governments to provide a response to the Senate regarding those recommendations which are relevant to them.