The history of reparations for Indigenous Australians removed from their families has been sporadic, piecemeal and devoid of any national conviction. This uneven and divisive approach, which has failed to capture and implement the key features of a comprehensive reparations strategy, has consequently allowed the historical injustice of past practices to permeate the social, economic and cultural lives of contemporary Indigenous communities. By reference to a national reparations tribunal proposal, isolated individual legal proceedings and a small-scale state-based compensation scheme, this paper explores Australia’s splintered efforts at remedying the gross human rights violations experienced by the Stolen Generations. It argues that Australia’s ongoing failure to address the magnitude of the moral wrong perpetuated against victims of removal policies and the enduring harm and disadvantage borne by successive generations, stands out as a significant lost opportunity for a nation to realise its commitment to the prerequisites of reconciliation.
Family Law | Human Rights Law
Date of this Version
Andrea Durbach, "'The Cost of a Wounded Society': Reparations and the Illusion of Reconciliation" (March 2008). University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series 2008. Working Paper 4.