Michael Danby MHR

Tel: (03) 9534 8126
Fax: (03) 9534 1575

117 Fitzroy Street
St Kilda VIC 3182

PO Box 2086
St Kilda West 3182

Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders: Stolen Generation Case

Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (1.51 p.m.) —In early December some 300,000 Victorians marched for reconciliation. They did that through my electorate of Melbourne Ports. The march was led by the Premier of Victoria. In recent days many of us in Melbourne Ports, and I am sure throughout the country, will have been distressed about the controversy involving the semantic problem of whether Aboriginal elder and respected person Lowitja O'Donoghue was removed or stolen. I think most of us around Australia who support reconciliation would be particularly upset by the Prime Minister's role in all of this and the fact that he regarded this semantic difference of words as highly significant. I do not think it is, and I do not think most Australians think it is.

I want to draw the attention of the Australian people to what I think is a scandalous misuse of public money by this government in this matter of reconciliation. The response to a question of mine of 7 September 2000, question No. 1964, that will appear in the Hansard of this day, shows that as at 30 September 2000 the Australian government had spent $8½ million in its defence of the Gunner and Cubillo matter in the Northern Territory, which relates to two stolen generation people in Darwin. It had further spent $770,000 on private detectives in this case, which involved only two people. Tens and hundreds of thousands of Australian people—indeed, the vast majority, according to opinion polls—support reconciliation with indigenous Australians. We regard this expenditure as a waste of money.


Authorised by Michael Danby 117 Fitzroy Street St Kilda VIC 3182