26 February 2004

Cubillo v Commonwealth

1 The applicants, Mrs Lorna Cubillo and Mr Peter Gunner, are said to be members of "the Stolen Generation". Neither the evidence in this trial, nor the reasons for judgment, deny the existence of "the Stolen Generation". Numerous writings tell tragically of a distressing past. But this trial has focussed primarily on the personal histories of two people: Lorna Cubillo and Peter Gunner. They have claimed that they, as young children, were forcibly removed from their families by employees of the Commonwealth Government.

This is being batted round Ozplogistan at the moment. Tugboat Potemkin began by arguing an Andrew Bolt article misquoted the Federal Court. Then The Road to Surfdom linked it. Comes now Tim Blair to say that if Gummo had searched properly he would have found the precise words cited by Andrew Bolt.

What nobody cites is that O'Loughlin J affirms existence of the Stolen Generations in the Northern Territory at Paragraph 1 of His Honour's statement of reasons. It should not have been hard to find. His Honour later finds that the particular facts of Cubillo v Commonwealth do not relate to the Stolen Generations.

Perhaps Gummo should search better. And perhaps a case that affirms the Stolen Generations, while holding particular plaintiffs were not part of it, should not be cited as evidence that the Stolen Generations did not happen.

Perhaps everyone should read the Gummo/Blair quote from Para 1162 in its full context:

...that evidence does not support a finding that there was any policy of removal of part Aboriginal children such as that alleged by the applicants: and if, contrary to that finding, there was such a policy, the evidence in these proceedings would not justify a finding that it was ever implemented as a matter of course in respect of these applicants.

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