Victoria should offer compensation to Aboriginal people who were forcibly removed from their families as children, the state’s first Indigenous female MP says.
Speaking at a protest outside parliament on Tuesday, Greens MP Lidia Thorpe said members of the Stolen Generations continue to feel pain and suffering.
“What’s the government going to do about that?” she told NITV News.
“Every state except for Victoria has provided redress to Stolen Generations."
"We fought for expungement of criminal records for stolen children, we won that but we need to go a step further and we need to make sure every stolen generation – including their families – have proper redress and healing."
State governments in Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia offer reparations to Aboriginal people who were part of the Stolen Generations.
Western Australia offers a redress scheme only for people who have suffered abuse or neglect with ongoing effects.
While successive federal governments have opposed a national compensation fund, Victorian Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins says she is still committed to pursuing a national scheme.
“We need to be able to deal with the people living in Victoria that may have been born in Queensland or NSW or Tasmania and were taken from their families and that’s not something that a state-based system can deal with,” she told ABC.
Aunty Lyn Austin was taken from her family from the banks of the Dimboola River in western Victoria when she was 10 years old. Fifty-four years later, she said remains traumatised by her experiences.
“I didn’t make it home to my mother,” Ms Austin said.
“I never made it back, and I’ve got to live with that. I live with that today, that I never made it back to see my mother before her passing."
She said the government should offer reparations, as the Bringing Them Home report recommended in 1997.
“We’re still standing here on these rotten steps," Ms Austin said.
“It’s about justice, and it’s about rights, and it’s about the abuse we suffered.
“The government signed off on us, took us. We didn’t commit the crime, they did.”