• An Indigenous Australian woman cries in federal parliament as she listens to former PM Kevin Rudd deliver an apology to the Stolen Generations (AAP)Source: AAP
A law firm estimates a further 5,000 victims of the Northern Territory child removal policies are eligible to register for a class action lawsuit being filed against the Commonwealth.
By
Shahni Wellington

Source:
NITV News
12 Feb 2021 - 11:52 AM  UPDATED 12 Feb 2021 - 1:14 PM

A tour of the Northern Territory by legal firm Shine Lawyers, aims to find and encourage victims who were forcibly removed from their families to seek compensation.

They are being asked to join a class action lawsuit to be filed against the Commonwealth for the injustices endured as a result of race-based policies from 1910 to the 1970's.

The Northern Territory, the ACT and Jervis Bay are the only jurisdictions without a compensation scheme, with responsibility for survivors falling to the Commonwealth.

Shine Lawyers, hit the NT roads to find more survivors that were taken as children, in hope of giving eligible people the justice they deserve. 

"We have over 1,000 people already who have registered their interest in being part of this action, we expect that there's probably about 6000 people in total," Head of class actions, Jan Saddler told NITV News.

"We know it's really important to get out into the communities and to let people know about this Stolen Generations class action and how they can become a part of it. We've had incredibly successful town hall meetings and community meetings over the course of the last week."

The legal representatives have visited Darwin, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.

It comes the week of the 13th anniversary of the Apology to victims of the Stolen Generations by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

The landmark 1997 Bringing Them Home report recommended the Commonwealth and the states establish individual financial compensation processes and a national compensation tribunal, but neither was accepted.

The federal Labor party has previously committed to establishing a national compensation scheme that would see payments of $75,000 to survivors, but never eventuated.

No more disappointment

Many survivors of the Stolen Generations have passed away before seeing any financial restitution for their suffering.

The latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed there were 17,150 Stolen Generations survivors that were still alive in 2018.

Shine Lawyers have plans to visit more Northern Territory communities in what is a time-sensitive claim.

"We would love to be able to follow this case tomorrow but we know it's important that we get it right and we don't want to disappoint so many Indigenous Australians who are a part of this action, who I'm sure have been disappointed in the past from what the government has said they're going to do and never delivered," Ms Saddler said.

"We expect that we will see some form of closure and resolution one way or the other - though there's no guarantees in litigation - within about the next three to three and a half years."

The law firm are continuing their search and expect to file in the Federal Court in Sydney within the next two months.

Inquiry hears national redress scheme failing Stolen Generations survivors
Inquiry hears national redress scheme failing Stolen Generations survivors
A Joint Select Committee hears the national redress scheme for survivors of institutional child abuse is not meeting the needs of members of the Stolen Generations.