MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA (INC) 26 MAY 2010
Sorry Day 2010 marks to the start of landmark legal action
The first step in a landmark legal action seeking damages and compensation for members of the Stolen Generations has begun in Western Australia.
On behalf of nine Indigenous people, the Writ, lodged today in the Supreme Court of Western Australia, could become a test case for thousands of other Western Australians who suffered forced removal by this State.
Dennis Eggington, Aboriginal Legal Service of WA CEO says the pro bono action by law firm Lavan Legal addresses an extremely significant issue. ‘Whilst this is significant primarily for the survivors of the Stolen Generations, it should also be welcomed by all Western Australians who wish to right a moral, ethical and historical wrong.’
‘It is also profoundly timely that such an important action should begin today on Sorry Day in 2010 when so many of our people are still reeling from the long term effects of such a heartless and misguided policy’ said Mr. Eggington.
Although ALSWA has worked with many survivors of the Stolen Generations, it is unable to currently provide legal assistance to those seeking legal representation in this area due to a lack of funding. “Our Civil & Human Rights Unit has worked closely with Lavan Legal and the Plaintiffs in this matter, however ALSWA receives absolutely no funding from the State government. When one considers that many of the legal issues our people are dealing with are directly attributable to past State policies one would assume the government should step forward and accept some responsibility’ said Mr. Eggington.
‘Although no legal action could ever erase what has occurred, we sincerely hope that this important test case can at least dismantle the significant barriers that have prevented members of our community from holding accountable a State that presided over their forced removal’.