The Australian Greens are recommending the development of a national standard for redress schemes for those adversely affected by past government policies and practices.
Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson for Community Services says a national scheme would offer a universal, consistent and equitable support for those seeking compensation or redress from Australian Governments.
Senator Siewert addressed the issue as part of her additional comments to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee's Review of Government Compensation Payments.
“There are many Australians whose lives, physical and mental health, prosperity and well-being have been significantly affected by past government policies and practices,” Senator Siewert said today.
“This includes members of the Stolen Generations, the 'Forgotten' Australians, former child migrants, children placed in institutional care or foster homes, those subjected to forced adoption policies and many others.
“The impact of these actions is undeniable. It is essential that a supportive, consistent and equitable approach to compensation and redress is taken, instead of unnecessarily narrow or legalistic approaches that require victims to go through a lengthy process of producing detailed evidence and reliving past traumas.
“It is entirely understandable that many of the victims of past government policies and practices feel deeply frustrated and profoundly let down by the failure of Australian governments to properly acknowledge and redress the neglect, abuse and trauma they have suffered. Particularly those in Victoria and New South Wales, where redress schemes have not been put in place, and appear unlikely in the near future.
“The Greens believe that the Australian Government should lead the development of a national standard for redress schemes. We believe there is a role for a national framework and mechanism where there is a clear pattern of consistent policy failure across States and Territories.
“This would allow all Australians, irrespective of the state in which they were neglected or abused, to access support in pursing restitution and redress from the state party that bears the direct legal responsibility.
“The Greens are continuing to work in a number of areas to see better support and compensation mechanisms established for people affected by past policies and practices.
“In the case of the Stolen Generations we believe that, in light of the community response to the National Apology to the Stolen Generations delivered by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the expectations it engendered, there is a compelling case for a national reparations scheme to be established, as outlined in The Greens Stolen Generations Reparations Bill 2010.
“In November, the Senate supported an Australian Greens motion for the Community Affairs Reference Committee to examine the Commonwealth Government’s role in forced adoption polices from the late 1940s to the 1980s.
“The Committee will also look at the potential for the Commonwealth Government to be involved in developing a national framework to assist the many thousands of people who have suffered as a result of these policies,” Senator Siewert concluded.
Review of Government Compensation Payments
Additional Comments from the Australian Greens