Editor's Column

The Never-Ending Story

We are a nation, made up of many nations, in need of healing. We need to recover from the trauma arising from colonisation, brutal past government assimilation policies, and ongoing systemic racism. 
                                                                                         —Fiona Cornforth, CEO of the Healing Foundation

This appeal was made in an address to the National Press Club on June 2. Nine weeks later, on August 5, Fiona Cornforth was rewarded for her efforts in lobbying the Morrison government with a gift of more than $600 million. The money wasn’t for anything like the Covid pandemic or a similar medical crisis affecting all Australians. It was for the “healing” of a target group of Aboriginal people allegedly suffering from trauma. Most of the money, some $378 million of it, is to fund a “redress scheme”—grants of $75,000 to each individual who identifies as a survivor of the Stolen Generations, plus a $7000 grant “to facilitate healing”.

Ken Wyatt, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, endorsed the grant and its rationale: “This announcement reflects the Government’s commitment to recognise and acknowledge the wrongs of the past as part of the nation’s journey to reconciliation, and this scheme represents a major step forward towards healing.” Wyatt was referring to the Stolen Generations policy supposedly adopted by all Australian states from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s of forcibly removing Aboriginal children from their parents and confining them to institutions where they would grow up ignorant of Aboriginal culture.

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However, part of this money will go not to those who were actually removed from their parents. It will go to their relatives and descendants, that is, as Cornforth explains, “their families, and communities who were left behind and also suffered from their loss”. And there is no limit on how distant this family relationship might be. Even the great-grandchildren of the original Stolen Generations claimants can make their bid. Cornforth said the policy would serve those “descended from older generations who were removed—great grandparents, grandparents, parents, aunties, and uncles”.

The reason for paying redress to such distant descendants is because they, too, are supposedly suffering from trauma passed on from one generation to the next. This phenomenon now goes by its own name: intergenerational trauma.

The number of people affected has already been estimated by Cornforth’s organisation and the research body the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). “Intergenerational trauma is real,” Cornforth said in her Canberra address, “and the AIHW has provided clear evidence.”

Rather than an issue buried in the past, she argues the number of the Stolen Generations is still growing. In Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT, between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of Aboriginal adults today claim to be descended from the Stolen Generations. The AIHW claims they constitute a group who today are more oppressed than other Aborigines. Their intergenerational trauma means they are four times as likely to be living with severe disability, and four times as likely to have poor mental health.

The government grants will be confined to people in those territories under Commonwealth control, the Northern Territory and the ACT, where about 3600 individuals are expected to claim eligibility. The Commonwealth is seeking to match similar redress schemes already operating in some states. However, as I demonstrated in my book on the Stolen Generations, Volume Three of The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, these state redress payments were often given to people who clearly had no legitimate right to them. Their records showed they had been sent to institutions for genuine welfare reasons, such as parental neglect or deaths in the family that left them orphans. They were not separated forcibly, or unlawfully, or because they were of Aboriginal descent, or for any other racist reason.

The latest Commonwealth scheme for its territories will only compound these problems, especially now that the issue of intergenerational trauma has been poured into the trough. Trauma is one of the most nebulous concepts known to the equally nebulous field of mental health, and anyone who claims to be a victim of it will likely be believed. Moreover, the Commonwealth policy carries with it an allocation of an additional $254 million to bring the total expenditure up to $632 million. This is for the “infrastructure” to provide healing. The money will fund Aboriginal-controlled community health organisations to service purported survivors and descendants.

In her Canberra address, Cornforth assured her audience that her scheme would work:

Inter­generational trauma can end with inter­generational healing.” The Healing Foundation’s proposed therapy is to “work with communities to create a place of safety, providing an environment for Stolen Generations survivors and their families to speak for themselves, tell their own stories, and be in charge of their own healing.

The whole thing is a hoax worthy of Bruce Pascoe. Claims that the Commonwealth government has ever been responsible for a policy like that claimed for the Stolen Generations are either inherently implausible or have been tried, tested and found to be worthless by both the Federal Court and the High Court of Australia.

For a start, the Commonwealth has never been responsible for removing Aboriginal children in the ACT. There are supposedly 400 people in Canberra currently awaiting their redress payments. But for almost the entire period when the Stolen Generations program was supposedly in place, the Constitution prevented the Commonwealth from implementing Aboriginal policy everywhere except the Northern Territory—it was a prerogative confined to the states. Until the notable referendum of 1967 changed all this, the Commonwealth was an innocent bystander. And even after 1967, the role of the Commonwealth in Aboriginal affairs was focused on other areas, particularly land rights. It never funded any institution in the ACT to house Aboriginal children, nor did it ever employ any staff to remove Aboriginal children from their families.

Moreover, in the Northern Territory, the one area of Commonwealth responsibility that did include social welfare for Aborigines, and where the government now expects 3200 claimants for redress payments, the courts have long found against all claims based on the story of the Stolen Generations.

If this story was true, its members should have had many victories in the courts. The charges involved serious breaches of the law—false imprisonment, misfeasance of public office, breach of duty of care, and breach of fiduciary and statutory duties—and from the mid-1990s onwards, human rights lawyers and Aboriginal legal aid services have lined up to pursue their cases. The two major test cases were about child removal in the Northern Territory.

The most publicised case, Cubillo and Gunner v Commonwealth, was decided by Judge Maurice O’Loughlin in the Federal Court in August 2000. Counsel for the applicants, Ms M. Richards, had submitted that the Northern Territory in the 1940s and 1950s had a policy called “the removal policy” and “the half-caste policy”. She said that, because it targeted only half-caste children, it was based on race rather than welfare. In his judgment, O’Loughlin said:

I cannot accept that submission; it failed to recognise those decisions of the High Court to which reference has already been made that classified the legislation as beneficial and protectionist; it failed to recognise that there was then, as there is now, an acceptance of the need for special legislation and special consideration for Aboriginal people.

What O’Loughlin meant by “those decisions of the High Court”, were several verdicts, most notably Kruger and Bray v Commonwealth. That was a judgment made by the full bench of the High Court in July 1997 and was the major case that considered whether the removal of Aboriginal children amounted to genocide. It was handed down only two months after the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Bringing Them Home report accused the nation of that very crime. Five of the six High Court judges commented specifically on the question of genocide. Counsel for the plaintiffs had argued that the Northern Territory’s Aboriginal Ordinance of 1918, which permitted the Chief Protector to detain any Aboriginal people in the Territory, including children, breached the United Nations Convention on Genocide. All five judges rejected the claim. Justice Michael McHugh argued: “There is nothing in the 1918 Ordinance that could possibly justify a construction of its provisions that would authorise the doing of acts ‘with intent to destroy, in whole or in part’ the Aboriginal race.” Justice Daryl Dawson said: “On the contrary, as has already been observed, the powers conferred by the 1918 Ordinance were required to be exercised in the best interests of the Aboriginals concerned or of the Aboriginal population generally.”

In short, when they tested specific policies before the courts, the story of the Stolen Generations fell apart. As far as Australia’s highest courts are concerned, the central hypothesis of the Stolen Generations is legally extinct. The Morrison government has no rational grounds for spending any money at all, let alone the staggering sum of $632 million, to satisfy the never-ending demands of the activists for this cause.

 

20 comments
  • Daffy

    I see the government is true to Scotty’s roots – marketing. This move doesn’t need to be right, just, truthful, accurate or morally defensible, all it needs to be is a ‘good look’. And that’s all it is, on our dime!

  • Lawriewal

    The basic problem is the definition of aboriginal.
    How is it determined that a person is aboriginal?
    But of course even asking such a thing immediately marks me as “racist”.
    But no one cares in using my taxes to fund such claimants – nope racist funds are OK!

  • wdr

    Welcome to Ripoff City.

  • Greg Williams

    Articles like this one by Keith and the one on the climate hysteria being promoted at universities certainly don’t inspire one to willingly hand over tax. Add in the wasted tax dollars at the ABC and it’s almost like these tax sink holes are begging me to stop work and stop paying tax.

  • Ceres

    Keith never disappoints with his articles. Comments above spot on too.
    Be assured the $600 million gift will only be the start of the never ending demands.
    Living in la la land those who believe this will be the end of it.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    Lauriewal, the Tripartite definition has been used since the early 1980s.
    An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is a person:
    1. of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent,
    2. who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and
    3. is accepted as such by the community in which he (she) lives.
    As this doesn’t require documentation, it is open to abuse, as the Pascoe case would seem to indicate. Some accept him, some don’t, so it seems to be a bit of a lottery at times. Of course if race-based government funding wasn’t available, there wouldn’t be such an incentive to have a go.

  • Blair

    ” Additional information
    To be eligible for the scheme, recipients would be:
    Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people,
    under the age of 18 years at the time they were removed from their family by government bodies (including the police), churches/missions and/or welfare bodies, and in circumstances where their Indigeneity was a factor in their removal, and
    removed whilst living in the Northern Territory or in the Australian Capital Territory prior to their respective self-government or the Jervis Bay Territory.”
    Torres Strait Islanders removed while living in the Northern Territory or the ACT?!!!

  • pgang

    Blair, I was wondering how anyone would qualify for this ‘grant’, and whether any of the money would actually be paid out. It seems more like a virtue signal without any substance. The information you provide only muddies the waters further.

  • STD

    Subsidised parasitism based on racial discrimination .

  • rod.stuart

    How long will it be until Pascoe scores some of this loot for his craft beer business?

  • nfw

    It’s okay to be aboriginal if your great great something was. So that just ignores all the other non-aboriginal DNA does it? No freebies I suppose in being Celtic or English or other European.

  • nfw

    One is reminded of that old riddle: How do you find a sacred aboriginal site? Answer: With a geiger counter.

  • NFriar

    Thank you @Keith Windschuttle.
    This is well named ‘ the never ending story’ with the bleeding heart virtue signallers obliging.

  • john.singer

    As Gilbert and Sullivan wrote
    “Ruth
    A paradox,
    A most ingenious paradox!
    We’ve quips and quibbles heard in flocks,
    But none to beat this paradox!

    All.
    A paradox, a paradox,
    A most ingenious paradox.
    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,
    This paradox.”

    In fact more than one paradox :
    Compensation without required proof.
    The Courts say no-one was stolen. In fact children who were only half Aboriginal and half European or Asian were sent to be educated often by their parents or else by the Department. Perhaps some errors were made and that should be grounds for compensation (awarded by the Court).
    If intergenerational trauma exists then most people suffer a form of it. 20% of our population are transplanted, only some by choice, despite being part of this wonderful Country they suffer intergenerational loss
    If Public Policy is based on the Common Law (as determined by Court Decisions) then to dispense Public Money in contravention of Public Policy is surely a fraud on the public purse and the non-recipient population?
    I understand no money is payable until some date in 2022 and this should be brought to the floor of the Parliament and possibly the High Court.

  • pmprociv

    Thanks yet again, Keith,for keeping these issues out in the open so articulately. Having read your two most detailed volumes on Aboriginal history, and appreciating just how much work you put into them, I have only admiration for your remarkable patience and self-restraint in writing about the ignorance, stupidity and greed underlying these developments. Will they never end?

    We’re constantly being told that money is not the answer to fixing “The Gap”, yet at the same time, we constantly see money being thrown, mindlessly, into an ever-deepening chasm of ideological mishmash. Anyone with experience of life in remote indigenous communities would instantly recognise the widespread, traditional practice of humbugging (if not, see the movie, “Charlie’s Country”), by which better-off friends and relatives are obliged to hand over their belongings to someone less fortunate (regardless of the cause of this differential status). What we are witnessing here is this ingrained social characteristic being racked up to the national level: Australia stands to become a proud world-exemplar in mega-humbugging.

  • pmprociv

    10th comment in the above list [rod.stuart – 2nd September 2021] might be offered in a light vein, re. Pascoe’s beer venture attracting funds. Too late, mate – it’s already happened! Just read the last parts of: https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/bruce-pascoe-has-become-too-big-to-fail-%E2%80%94-almost-impossible-to-question/ar-AAM4BlK . And, as professor at Melbourne University, Pascoe would be entitled to lots of funding from other sources, even the ARC and NHMRC. It sure pays to identify as indigenous — helped with a touch of affirmative action.

  • pmprociv

    Should there not be a statute of limitations regarding “intergenerational trauma”? Otherwise, just about every person now living in Australia, if not on the entire planet, would have grounds for submitting a claim. I know from first-hand experience just how much my own parents, and theirs, suffered miserably at the hands of the Bolsheviks and then the Nazis (saved only by the UN’s new IRO, and migration to Australia). There simply is no biological basis for this social “science” fabrication, unless of course one invokes the trendy “epigenetics” and perhaps quantum physics! Oops, I left out the gut microbiome, and neuroplasticity . . .

  • ianprintoul

    There is a point when compassion and financial support for aboriginal people passes the mark and becomes a largesse made by an indulgent government.
    It seems an entire hand wringing industry has developed where money trickles through an administration system to those who need it.
    The separation of aboriginal children from their families may seem cruel, but was done in a time when social mores were different; but done for the wider good and benefit of often malnourished and under privileged children.
    Throwing money at a social and economic problem may salve some people’s consciences, but there are many other social challenges such as drugs and homeless people.
    But the ‘shoots of hope’ can be seen with aboriginal descendants in their art and writing, and a greater community awareness and respect for the first nations people; even though books such as Dark Emu may contain factually incorrect statements and assumptions, which have been correctly challenged by experts.
    Ian P. Rintoul

  • gilmay97

    The contrived false image of ancient Aborigine being quiet natives living in harmony with their environment is falsifyinghistory, clearly many birds and animals were hunted to extinction, where square kilometres of forests were burnt into oblivion to attract Kangaroos and other food animals to grasslands that replaced the former forests.
    We have never seen an aboriginal ‘fire-brigade’; the repetitive fires they lit burnt until they ran out of fuel, sometimes for months causing irreversible destruction of small developing plants then other fires wiped the species out as no more seedlings and seed was left, turning forests into grasslands, and grasslands into deserts — wiping out wildlife who were devoid of food and habitat. They then moved to another area and started their thoughtless destruction again. Forever damaging and irreversibly changing the landscape of Australia.
    This was done so many times on a regular basis that Hawks who are very intelligent birds learnt fire flushes out food supplies, they learnt to pick-up burning debris and drop it further away to continue the fires. Becoming known as ‘firehawks’ — the brown falcon, back kite, and whistling kite— swoop down picking up smouldering sticks, grass and debris from uncontrolled raging bushfires carrying them nearly a kilometre away across modern fire-breaks, where they drop them starting new fires. For these birds-of-prey to have learnt how to spread fire to unburned locations, they must have observed massive numbers of fires during their ancestor’s lifetime for it to have become a genetic hunting technique — creating a killing feeding frenzy of small birds, lizards, insects, everything fleeing the front of the fire. This is why Aussie ‘firehawk’ raptors are spreading bushfires (australiangeographic.com.au)
    This makes total nonsense of Bruce Pascoe’s book “Dark Emu”, his claims of large villages, broad area crops and harvesting where the aboriginals lived in an environmentally sensitive nirvana of agriculture and horticulture. This unsubstantiated fantasy is now being taught in schools as factual, clearly education departments need a big cleanout of those so gullible, stupid, and ignorant of history, they are unable to differentiate between fact and fantasy fiction, thus unsuitable to be teaching our children when they cannot differentiate. Teaching children fantasy as fact negates and destroys the very foundation of the education system — clearly a full public Parliament Inquiry is overdue and must be implemented.
    Australian megafauna – Wikipedia states, “New evidence based on accurate optically stimulated luminescence and uranium-thorium dating of megafaunal remains suggests that humans were the ultimate cause of the extinction of megafauna in Australia. The dates derived show that all forms of megafauna on the Australian mainland became extinct in the same rapid timeframe — approximately 46,000 years ago — the period when the earliest humans, the negritos, are known to have inhabited Australia. Analysis of oxygen and carbon isotopes from teeth of megafauna indicate the regional climates at the time of extinction were similar to arid regional climates of today and that the megafauna were well adapted to arid climates. The dates derived have been interpreted as suggesting that the main mechanism for extinction was human burning of a landscape that was then much less fire-adapted; oxygen and carbon isotopes of teeth indicate sudden, drastic, non-climate-related changes in vegetation and in the diet of surviving marsupial species. End – Wikipedia.

  • gilmay97

    Fiona Cornforth, CEO of the Healing Foundation: in her address to the National Press Club on June 2 2021, she sought funding from the Government.
    The money … was for the “healing” of a target group of Aboriginal people allegedly suffering from trauma. Most of the money, some $378 million of it, is to fund a “redress scheme” — grants of $75,000 to each individual who identifies as a survivor of the Stolen Generations, plus a $7000 grant “to facilitate healing”. …
    Nine weeks later, on August 5, the Morrison government gave her more than $600 million of taxpayers money.
    This is unacceptable, stop the discrimination and treat them the same as other people — send them to a psychiatrist for their mental health problem — are we expected to believe they will suddenly be cured if we pay them massive sums of money? Fifty or a hundred years later and still living in the past on unfounded stories supposedly told to you by others, now you want compensation for something that happened to others now dead.

    Will the government be non-discriminatory and give the same amount to other people who make unproven claims of mistreatment to them and others now dead by former governments of long ago?

    Quadrant & The Wentworth Report of 2-9-2021: By Keith Windschuttle.
    Hereunder some extracts taken from the above.

    “………. part of this money will go NOT to those who were actually removed from their parents. It will go to their relatives and descendants, that is, as Cornforth explains, “their families, and communities who were left behind and also suffered from their loss”. And there is no limit on how distant this family relationship might be. Even the great-grandchildren of the original Stolen Generations claimants can make their bid. Cornforth said the policy would serve those “descended from older generations who were removed—great grandparents, grandparents, parents, aunties, and uncles”. …”

    This is to to pay unrelated people for something perceived to have occurred long ago to a person now dead that was done lawfully under existing law of that time — by others also long dead.
    Absurd claims made by aboriginal descendants many who were not even alive at that time of the claimed offense, how do they provide specific finite forensic evidence — beyond all reasonable doubt — A personal opinion does not meet those criteria. All claims tested before our highest Courts have been proven falsely unfounded.

    The Law does not permit debt responsibility of dead people: What allegedly happened in the mists of past times now twisted and embellished into a great wrong that will be forgiven if a lot of money is paid: Law is not based on hearsay but established fact, a statute of limitations applies to all compensation claims. Unless the government pass special legislation to again rort the taxpayers and ‘gravy-train’ aboriginals (or part aboriginals) with more money for nothing — Voters needs to seriously object — otherwise you pay for it, money that should be going to your schools, hospitals and health care.
    The Morrison government without opposition from the ALP has given away $600 million of your hard-earned taxpayer money to a group of aboriginals who falsely claim they were ’stolen’ from their families.

    THERE WAS NO STOLEN GENERATION — as proven by our highest Court
    No generation was stolen — neglected children were removed for protection as prescribed by law.
    There were no ‘generation’ of people stolen — a misused word out of context, pumped up for compensation publicity?
    “Their records showed they had been sent to institutions for genuine welfare reasons, such as parental neglect or deaths in the family that left them orphans. They were not separated forcibly, or unlawfully, or because they were of Aboriginal descent, or for any other racist reason.”
    On exactly the same basis as children were taken away from white parents for neglect.
    There were children removed from shocking neglected and abusive situations, they were removed to save their lives, the basic reality was they would have died or been killed, they were in a serious state of neglect — many parents asked they be taken.
    All the children taken into care were done so under existing authority by lawful Act, therefore NOT stolen.
    The word ‘stolen’ was just another contrived wordplay to simple minds of gullible people, to put a guilt complex upon the community, if you believed such without ever bothering to check recorded facts and ask questions, then you’re one of the gullible and part of the problem.
    Mulatto children were the result of unacceptable sexual union and shunned by many aboriginal groups, many were killed at birth, others enslaved to the tribe for use as they chose, to be killed at will.
    Children were dying from neglect, they were being abused physically and sexually, they were starving, and abandoned — they were taken solely to save their lives. Then reality blind people of no experience nor understanding of the deaths, suffering and neglect wrote long warped stories to justify how they viewed the situation — according to their logic it would have been correct to have left the poor unfortunate kids to their demise — many with no parents or close family. That identifies their inhumanity and mental aberration.
    The whole thing is a deliberately contrived hoax of fraudulent proportions, the Commonwealth government never had a policy like that claimed for the Stolen Generations — this appears serious fraud the AFP need to investigate.
    The courts have found at law against all claims based on the story of the Stolen Generations, the charges involved serious breaches of the law — false imprisonment, misfeasance of public office, breach of duty of care, and breach of fiduciary and statutory duties — and from the mid-1990s onwards, human rights lawyers and Aboriginal legal aid services have lined up to pursue their cases. …
    When they tested specific policies before the courts, the story of the Stolen Generations fell apart. As far as Australia’s highest courts are concerned, the central hypothesis of the Stolen Generations is legally extinct.
    These false claims based on the story of the Stolen Generations have been long found to be worthless and unfounded by both the Federal Court and the High Court of Australia. For anyone to claim these Court decisions are other than as handed down by the Courts, is in contempt of Court, and must be prosecuted to uphold the integrity of the Courts — If not the integrity of the Court has no standing.
    The files claimant Fiona Cornforth and Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government in approving the grant acknowledge the body reason of the claim that a stolen generation existed — is a total contradiction and undermining of the Courts decision and authority — it is contemptuous of the Court in deliberate act and deed, and they must individually be held accountable to the Courts authority by subpoena of all parties to explain themselves to the Court with serious contempt penalty of incarceration.
    The nation’s highest court must be held in utmost respect at all times without subversive undermining.
    The High Court must promptly act on this serious mater of high-level contemp.

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