What was our aim?
In 2014 the National Sorry Day Committee sought feedback from its federal government partners as to the feasibility of a fourth Stolen Generations Working Partnership Scorecard. Due to the profound changes in the machinery of government, however, we found this was not possible. In fact, the new government was not interested in engaging with the Working Partnership set up under the previous administration. Instead, NSDC negotiated with its funders to commission a report on the current status of 54 recommendations made in the Bringing them home Report, with its primary focus being the national stage. This report is a summary of extensive consultations conducted between January 2014 and January 2015.
How did we set about finding out?
The approach we took was to examine available literature on the progress of the recommendations over the past 17 years, using our own libraries, the Internet and a strategic search of peer-reviewed publications. We also sought advice from past and present individual and organisational members of the NSDC and other organisational partners and representative bodies involved in providing advocacy and services to Stolen Generations, as well as long standing supporters of the NSDC. We sent drafts of our findings for peer review by knowledge holders in the field and the NSDC executive reviewed all drafts of the document.
What did we find?
The first section of our report looks at the historical context of the Stolen Generations, the Bringing them home report and developments since, including the work of advocacy groups such as the NSDC and the significance of the recent Stolen Generations Working Partnership. This section reiterates findings made in earlier reports that nearly every Aboriginal family and community has been affected by the policies of forced removals, yet at the same time have exhibited extraordinary strength in the face of multiple layers of grief and loss The second section of our report examines how the Bringing them home Inquiry was conducted and what it found and presents our findings on the progress and results of the implementation of its recommendations over two time periods, i.e. before and after the Apology. The final section of this report finds that there is still insufficient recognition and understanding of trauma, loss and grief, and its impacts on health and wellbeing. We argue that the people best placed to guide what is needed now and into the future are the Stolen Generations themselves.
What does it all mean and where to from here?
This report is offered to policy makers and to the community as a way forward towards the meaningful implementation of the recommendations of the Bringing them home Report. We have made a series of high-level recommendations to guide future policy and program delivery, which may be seen as a set of working principles. We believe that the unfinished business of the Stolen Generations needs to be front and centre in Indigenous affairs and the original Bringing them home recommendations offer a sound foundation towards achieving this.