GENERATIONS PUBLIC RELEASE
18 OCTOBER 2006
I acknowledge and pay respect to the Aboriginal owners of the land,
the Aboriginal elders that are present today, members of the Stolen
Generation and members of the Aboriginal Community.
I have declared that reconciliation is one of the leading social
priorities for my government.
For one very important reason.
Because it’s the right thing to do.
For Tasmania to move forward to a united and strong future, we must
first resolve the wrongs of the past.
Since 1998 Labor has worked with the Aboriginal community for reconciliation.
We’ve handed land back.
Last year, we saw the historic return of Cape Barren Island, and
earlier this year we issued a 40-year lease for ‘larapuna’
But reconciliation is about more than returning land.
It’s about people.
It’s about recognising that in Tasmania’s history, Aboriginal
people were dispossessed from their land, severed from their culture
and taken from their families.
And it’s about saying that we’re sorry that this happened.
On the 13th August in 1997 the Tasmanian Parliament apologised to
the Tasmanian Aboriginal people for the injustices and hurt experienced
by members of the Stolen Generation.
The motion was supported unanimously.
I was in the Parliament on that day and I remember it well.
Annette Peardon accepted the apology on behalf of all Tasmanian
Aboriginal people. Annette was joined that day by her brother Derek
and Tanya Harper.
Annette’s address was moving, emotional and powerful and she
received a standing ovation from the Parliament. Her speech on that
day made a lasting impression on me.
Annette talked about the fear and trauma suffered by Aboriginal
children who were removed from their families.
Trauma that’s not confined to the past but very real in the
present lives of the members of the Stolen Generation.
During the launch of Labor’s election campaign, I pledged
that, if re-elected, my Government would address the important issue
of the Stolen Generation.
I am pleased to say, Annette that the day you called for on 13 August
1997 is not far away.
In my hand I have an exposure draft for legislation to be introduced
to Parliament on 31 October this year.
It details my Government’s intention to provide $5 million
dollars for Tasmania’s Stolen Generation.
This is an important gesture that recognises the harm experienced
by Aboriginal children who lost contact with their community and
culture through the active intervention of the State.
We will establish an independent process for assessing applications
by members of the Stolen Generation and the children of members
of the Stolen Generation who have passed away.
The children of members of the Stolen Generation who have passed
away will be eligible for payments of $5 000, capped at $20 000
Surviving members of the Stolen Generation will receive the remainder
of the funds, which the assessor will divide equally between them.
It is my great hope that, as with Parliament’s apology to
the Stolen Generation, this matter will progress with Parliament’s
Today I am releasing this exposure draft to enable members of Parliament
time to consider the draft and to discuss it with me prior to it
being tabled in Parliament.
Once the Legislation passes the Parliament, applications will be
called for and Tasmanian Aboriginal people will have 6 months to
The process will be advertised not only in Tasmania but also nationally.
We have worked very closely with the Aboriginal community in developing
criteria to establish eligibility to make sure that we get it right.
It’s been a difficult task and I thank you for your patience.
We have the support of the Aboriginal community and the broader
Tasmanian community to do this.
We received a clear mandate to deliver on this election promise.
It’s a confident community that can look at it’s past
and acknowledge that there are parts of our history that we are
not proud of.
But it’s a strong community that can take that recognition
of wrongdoing and act on it.
Today, Tasmania is a stronger and more confident community.
And we are creating a Tasmania that our children and grandchildren
can be proud of.
Reconciliation for me is about recognising the past.
Acting in the present.
And building a better future.
Reconciliation must be part of the future that we leave for future
With this draft legislation I now hand to Annette we can’t
undo the past but we can shape a better future.