Additional comments by the Australian by the Australian Greens
The Australian Greens support the findings of the committee's report,
but make the following additional comments and recommendations.
A number of groups representing the interests and concerns of the
Indigenous community clearly stated that they believe a Royal Commission is
needed to ensure that the issues of concern are able to be fully and openly
addressed (including the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia, the National
Tertiary Education Union, and Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation).
It is acknowledged that under ideal circumstances the Commonwealth, State and
Territory governments would respond to this report and act to address this
issue and implement the recommendations of this report, which would negate the
need for a Royal Commission. However, given the concerns raised in evidence to
the inquiry about the inadequacy of existing State government inquiries, and
given that other State governments have been reluctant to consider these issues
and even declined to provide evidence to the committee inquiry, the Australian
Greens believe there are legitimate grounds to be concerned that some
governments may not respond in an adequate and timely fashion.
Under these circumstances this could lead to a situation where there is
no timely and effective means of ensuring justice is done outside of costly and
drawn-out litigation by surviving claimants - despite the committee having
found there is good reason to believe an injustice has been done and
recommended action be taken to ensure recompense. The Australian Greens are
also concerned that under current circumstances the state and territory
Aboriginal Legal Services do not have adequate resources to help litigants
pursue compensation in a timely fashion were this to become necessary.
To guard against this eventuality the Australian Greens put forward the
Additional Recommendation 1
The Australian Greens recommend that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Social Justice Commissioner assess the adequacy of Commonwealth and
state government responses to the recommendations of this report; and advise
the Commonwealth of whether adequate progress has been made after 12 months
from the date of this report.
Additional Recommendation 2
The Australian Greens recommend that, if Commonwealth and state
governments have not responded adequately to the recommendations of this report
within 12 months, a Royal Commission into Stolen Wages be established.
Senator Rachel Siewert
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