Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
$3.5 million spent on stolen generations case obscene.



Download WordDownload Word

image

 

Media Release

Robert McClelland, MP

Shadow Attorney-General

Federal Member for Barton

 

31 May 1999

 

$3.5 MILLION SPENT ON STOLEN GENERATIONS

CASE OBSCENE

 

The amount being spent by the Commonwealth Government in defending the Stolen Generations cases in Darwin was obscene, according to the Shadow Attorney-General, Robert McClelland MP.

 

The Government confirmed today that it had already spent almost $3.5 million defending the actions brought by 2 members of the Stolen Generations in Darwin (See Attached).

 

“Given that these cases affect only two of the 2,200 members of the Stolen Generations, one has to wonder how much the Howard Government is prepared to spend to prevent members of the Stolen Generation pursuing their legal rights for compensation,” Mr McClelland said.

 

“What is even more disturbing is that this $3.5 million has been incurred in a case that has only seen early preliminary hearings and which is yet to go to a full trial.

 

“When your average Australian can’t get more than $10,000 in total in legal aid for a family law case to help protect their children, it is obscene that the Commonwealth is spending $3.5 million defending on these cases. This amount of $3.5 million is slightly higher than the $3.36 million cut from legal aid funding in the 1999/2000 financial year and could provide greater access to justice for an average of 1,750 Australians.”

 

The figures show that the Commonwealth has spent:

 

·  $1,657,466 on solicitors fees, covering about 8,400 hours of preparation;

·  $963,886 in barristers fees; and

·  $868,190 in other disbursements, including the cost of consultants, transport and accommodation.

 

“The Labor Party has always said that there is a better way to resolve these cases and that is to mediate not litigate. Such an approach woul d be cheaper in the long run and would help heal the deep emotional wounds inflicted on members of the Stolen Generation,” Mr McClelland said.

 

“Instead, all Australians are being forced to pay for the fact that John Howard is simply too mean-spirited to say that he is sorry.”

 

 

Contact:

Simon Banks  (02)6277 4323 or 0419 638 587

 

 

md 1999-06-01  13:27