4 February 2013



4February 2013

It’s been a long and emotional journey but today marks the beginning of the landmark Stolen Generations test case in the Supreme Court of Western Australia where it will run for the next five weeks.

On Sorry Day in 2010 law firm Lavan Legal lodged a Writ on behalf of nine members of the Collard family, including parents Donald and Sylvia, whose children were removed without consent and placed in state care between 1958 and 1961.

The Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) and law firm Lavan Legal have worked closely with family members, acutely aware of the important significance of this case, not only for the Collard family, but for the thousands of Aboriginal people who were also stolen from their families.

“The effects of being forcibly removed from families has had heartbreaking inter-generational effects on so many of our people. The Collard family, the Plaintiffs in this matter, have shown great courage in being involved in this test case. It has been an extremely challenging and emotional time and their strength and unity as a family has been incredible” said ALSWA CEO Dennis Eggington.

“We see the tragic effects of past government policies on our community members every day and you cannot under-estimate the pain and suffering that our people have endured through their forced removal. This is a historical day as we embark upon a hearing that has the capacity to right the wrongs of the past”.

ALSWA said that the test case would not have been possible without the immeasurable support and work undertaken by Lavan Legal who is acting on a pro bono basis. “We are so grateful for the longstanding efforts and immense workload taken on by Iain Freeman and the team at Lavan Legal. ALSWA’s limited resources could not have coped with the huge task of running this test case”.

Representing the Collard family throughout the Hearing is former ALSWA Principal Legal Officer Greg McIntyre SC.

ALSWA will not provide further media comment until this Hearing is complete.