A class action lawsuit against the Commonwealth on behalf of Stolen Generations survivors in the Northern Territory will be impacted by the redress scheme announced earlier this month.
The $378 million scheme will go towards Stolen Generations survivors in the Northern Territory and the ACT and includes a one-off payment of $75,000 in recognition of the harm caused by forced removal and a one-off payment of $7000 to facilitate healing.
The scheme was announced four months after Shine Lawyers began work on a class action lawsuit against the Commonwealth on behalf of more than 900 survivors and descendants who have never been compensated.
Shine Lawyers special counsel Tristan Gaven says the newly announced redress scheme will impact the class action, but says there are many survivors and descendants who won’t be eligible under the scheme, including those who passed away prior to its’ announcement.
“We struggle to understand why [the Commonwealth] would draw that really arbitrary distinction in relation to people who have passed away. Obviously it’s well known that the traumas of the removal of children by the government has continued on to their children and even their grandchildren. We think it’s a very deserving group of people who should be eligible for compensation.”
“The other people we act for as part of the class action is family members of those people that were removed. Those are the two categories that under the current redress scheme are going to miss out.”
Mr Gaven said the redress scheme is a “perfect opportunity” to resolve the all the claims in relation to the removal of children.
“Doing that through the payment of compensation and acknowledgement of past wrongs and the opportunity for personal apologies are all things which should really be extended to family members of those people, whether they’re living or deceased.”
Mr Gaven said Shine Lawyers would be meeting with the Commonwealth in early October for what he hopes is a “constructive discussion” that will provide more information about the scheme.