'Sorry' was never going to be enough

News.com.au - UP to 40 indigenous Australians are preparing compensation claims against the Victorian Government following this week's official apology to the Stolen Generations. Victorian man Neville Austin, 44, is planning to launch Victoria's first Stolen Generation claim. But the head of Stolen Generations Victoria and Mr Austin's cousin, Lyn Austin, said while she could not comment on Mr Austin's case, dozens more were preparing similar claims. "I cannot make comment on that case at all, but ... I do know that there are another 30 or 40 that are going to be doing a civil action claim," she said on ABC Radio in Melbourne. "They have a right to pursue a claim if they wish, they were removed through the policies that were upon them.
Well, we were warned about all this, but the folks running the joint assured us, they were 'confident' there wouldn't be lawsuits. Well you know what, just like I'm also confident that you lot will not have your money stolen by someone in your lifetime, it's a worthless assurance folks. In all honesty, the next logical step is compensation, when you walk into a shop and break something you have to pay for it, you can't just sing kumbaya, say sorry and it's all over. It no longer matters if all Aborigines weren't stolen to breed them out, it doesn't matter if it wasn't official government policy, doesn't matter if other races were also caught up in the same thing but didn't get a sorry, doesn't matter if it was us or someone else. The PM said I'm sorry, implying it was us and that a terrible wrong was committed upon the Aboriginal people alone.

So what if the folks who did this are gone now, we supposedly took responsibility, so 'we' have to compensate. I know the government has got some grand plans for education and improving their lot in life, but if you take Neville Austin, a school up in the NT isn't going to help him, a clinic in WA won't help him either. Technically he has been wronged, like a fellow who was wrongly imprisoned, the PM down to the little children in kindergarten said sorry. All these people can't be saying sorry and then just walking away like it's all good after 13.02.2008. Neville Austin and others like him, can't feed themselves on sorry. I know some of us think that we can just say sorry and that'll be it, but sooner or later a court will see it differently, just that it won't be Kevin Rudd or the previously-confident Minister who'll be paying, it'll be you.

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