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Stolen Generations compensation appeal lost

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on September 1st 2001.

Two members of the Stolen Generations have lost a court appeal over compensation from the Commonwealth.

Lorna Cubillo and Peter Gunner claim they were forcibly removed from their Northern Territory homes as small children in 1947 and 1956 respectively.

During the appeal Mrs Cubillo and Mr Gunner told the court they were physically and sexually abused after being removed.

Their claim for compensation was rejected by Justice O'Loughlin in the Darwin Federal Court in August last year.

Although he acknowledged the pair had suffered significant pain and psychological trauma he found the Commonwealth was not responsible for their removal and subsequent treatment.

The decision in Melbourne upholds Justice O'Loughlin's original ruling.

Mrs Cubillo watched the decision on a video link in Darwin's Federal Court.

She said she was bitterly disappointed with the Full Bench's decision.

"We've been battling all our lives so this is just one more knock on the head that we've received all our lives, so I half expected it," she said.

Lorna Cubillo says the lost court appeal will affect many lives.

"One has to comply with the rules and the regulations of the court," she said.

"I gave it my best shot and I failed.

"I'm only sorry for the people I might have let down. It's not just me, it's other people."


A Stolen Generations committee member, Maurie Ryan Japarte, is hoping the Federal Opposition leader will become the next prime minister and apologise to those taken from their families.

"I do hope that Kim are the next prime minister of this country, and you will announce from the first time that you sit in Parliament that you will send an apology and there's a reparations tribunal set up for all those people that are called a Stolen Generations," he said.

The Commonwealth Government is examining the implications of the Federal Court ruling.

The Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Philip Ruddock. says he hopes today's judgment will help all parties put the matter behind them.



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