Lib MP queries compo for Stolen Generation

A federal Liberal backbencher has questioned whether any compensation paid to the Stolen Generation should be passed down to their descendants.


Twenty years after the landmark Bringing Them Home report there are fresh calls for compensation.

West Australian Senator Chris Back has some concerns.

“I have heard comments saying there’s a need for compensation to be passed down to grandchildren. I have difficulty with that argument,” Senator Back told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

He agreed the Stolen Generation should get government support for mental health, medical or other issues.

“I think you need to think very careful about what the level (of compensation) would be and what it would be used for,” the senator said.

Queensland Labor senator Murray Watt said there was merit in a compensation scheme, pointing to the ex-gratis payments made by his state to indigenous people whose wages had been stolen.

“Twenty years on I think we need to think about how we properly recognise the immense trauma people went through,” he told reporters.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek would not be drawn on the question of compensation but pointed to the impact of the Bringing Them Home report.

“Ordinary people could no longer pretend they didn’t know about the life long multi-generational impact of government policies to remove Aboriginal children from their families and their communities,” she said.

“We can’t turn a blind eye to this and as a nation, we have a responsibility to make amends for what happened.”

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said the government was focused on other measures to improve the lives of indigenous Australians.

“It’s focused on getting kids into schools, it’s focused on getting adults into work and of course keeping communities safe,” he said.

Liberal MP Andrew Laming is not “terribly keen” on the idea of compensation.

“Right now I think there’s a need for a greater focus on the fundamentals,” he said.