Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:19): Supplementary: does the minister miss the days when it was the Liberals actually bringing a stolen generations compensation scheme to this council?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:20): I thank the honourable member for her question. She does raise good point. Much of what has happened in Aboriginal affairs in recent years and decades has largely been a bipartisan endeavour—it certainly was with the former opposition, when the member for Dunstan was the opposition leader, and I know the calls were repeated in this chamber by the Hon. Tammy Franks in relation to it, and you, Mr President, and I think the Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee did a very significant body of work in relation to a Stolen Generations Reparation Scheme; that is, paying reparations.

It was a bipartisan endeavour and I was proud to be the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs under former Premier Jay Weatherill's government that instituted that Stolen Generations Reparation Scheme. We were the first on the mainland to do so, after Tasmania had instituted one previously. The commonwealth has moved in this area. So the idea that reparations for past wrongs is somehow something that is unheard of just isn't the case.

We have done it before, and it has been a bipartisan endeavour. When the former Liberal government, under the member for Dunstan, introduced the Aboriginal representative body legislation into this parliament it was an attempt to have some sort of representative body to allow Aboriginal people to have more of a say to the government of the day—to have a voice. The actual way that worked I felt could have been improved, but the honourable member points to a very big shift in the South Australian Liberal Party in terms of that bipartisan endeavour in Aboriginal affairs.