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Stolen Generation Compensation Bill 2008

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Explanatory Memorandum - Stolen Generation Compensation Bill 2007

Senator Andrew Bartlett

 

This bill has been amended substantially from the initial exposure draft version which was tabled in the Senate by Senator Bartlett on 28 March 2007 after taking into consideration comments and submissions by various groups, especially with regards to the issue of eligibility criteria for ex gratia payments for claimants.

 

The legislation now allows for a wider range of claimants and make several provisions for further services that should be provided for claimants or their families.

 

The main provisions in the bill are as follows:

 

Items 1 -3 - Commencement and definitions

These provisions deal with the commencement of the Act and with the interpretations of key definitions in the Act.

 

Item 4 - Entitlement to ex gratia payment

This provision deals with the appropriation of funds for an ex gratia payment to the applicant.  This provision does not preclude applicants from further or future claims.

 

Item 5 - Eligibility criteria for ex gratia payment. 

This subsection allows for eligibility to remain open to:

 

·          Those who were subject to previous government policies which removed Indigenous children from their families.  This ensures that eligibility be extended to provide for the children of people removed under previous government policies of removal to claim compensation payments to which their parent(s) would have had an entitlement;

·          Those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children of mixed race descent who were subject to legislation for removal from their families, regardless of the process of conferring wardship or any other official status bringing about their removal from their families; and

·          Children of deceased persons who were subject to previous government policies or removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.

 

Item 6 - Applications for ex gratia payment

This provision has been extended to allow for applications to the Stolen Generations Assessor be extended for a period of seven years to ensure that adequate time be made available to applicants.  This ensures that information can be disseminated throughout Australia and overseas to locate the Stolen Generations and to provide time for sufficient resources to be gathered to make adequate applications.

 

 

 

Item 10 - Establishment of Stolen Generations Fund

This provision sets up the establishment of the Stolen Generations Fund which ex gratia payments will be made from.

 

Item 11 - Amount of ex gratia payment

This provision sets the payment of compensation to individual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons removed from their families as children under previous government policies at $20,000 as common experience payment and an additional $3,000 payment for each year of institutionalization.

 

Item 13 - Stolen Generations Tribunal decisions are reviewable

This provision allows for appeals of the decision of the Stolen Generation Tribunal to be reviewed.

 

Items 14 - 20 Appointment and functions of the Stolen Generations Tribunal

These provisions deal specifically with the methods of appointment of the Stolen Generations Tribunal and the merit selection pertaining to it.  It also specifies the powers and procedures of the Tribunal.

 

Item 21 - Death of applicant

This provision provides that the application for ex gratia payments by an applicant are deemed not to have lapsed should they die before their application is decided.

 

Item 22 - Additional support

This provision provides for the setting of other support services that should be taken into consideration such as the establishment of the following:

·          Healing centers and services of assistance for people in receipt of compensation as a result of removal from their families; and

·          Funeral Trust Fund for the provision of funeral services for the deceased.

 

Schedule 1 - Provisions in relation to the Stolen Generation Tribunal

This provision deals with the conditions of appointment of members of the Stolen Generations Tribunal.