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The Stolen Generation: one too many

Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission


The Stolen Generation: One Too Many




The Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission today expressed concerns

over statements regarding the Government's recent submission to the Senate

Inquiry into the Stolen Generation.  Senator Herron has suggested that if

only 10% of Aboriginal children were removed it is not appropriate to

speak of a stolen 'generation'.  Reports from the office of the Prime

Minister seem to support this desire to minimise the negative consequences

of forced separation.


Mr John Ferguson, Acting National Director of the Commission said,

"Limiting a response to the Inquiry into the Stolen Generation to a

numerical analysis fails to appreciate the enormous toll on generations of

indigenous people who have endured the consequences of forced removal.


"To be quantitative about the degree of human suffering that forced

removal has engendered is to disregard the findings of the Human Rights

and Equal Opportunity Commission Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families.  The Report of

this Commission makes it clear that one should in fact speak about the

'inter-generational effects' of forced separation.  Although some

individuals had to personally bear the consequences of being forcibly

removed from their families, such acts have enormous consequences

throughout whole communities and across generations.  Leadership must

always work towards the common good and a plea is now being made to this

Government to ensure that even retrospectively justice can be seen to be

done" he said.


"The Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission has been actively

involved in addressing the issues faced by the Stolen Generations.  It

believes that the Government must officially  acknowledge the myriad

consequences of forced removal and ensure that everything possible can now

be done to lessen the disadvantage presently experienced by many

indigenous Australians."


Mr Ferguson concluded, "This is not the time for a minimalist response. 

What is required is the capacity to see that the common good can only be

realised by the awareness that if only one indigenous child had ever been

forcible removed it was one too many."




Contact: Mobile 0419 437 592


05/00 4 April 2000