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MEDIA RELEASE – 16th May 2017

Major Perth Concert to Commemorate Twentieth Anniversary of Sorry Day

The Bringing Them Home Committee (WA) and Yokai: Healing Our Spirit have organised a major Concert to commemorate the Twentieth Anniversary of Sorry Day at the Astor Theatre at 7.30pm on Friday 26th May 2017. Sorry Day is an event which commemorates the anniversary of the handing down of the Bringing Them Home Report in the Commonwealth Parliament on 26th May 1997.

“Given the significance of the 20th Anniversary we have attracted a very special lineup with Archie Roach as the headline act, with support from local Aboriginal performers Gina Williams, Della-Rae Morrison, Candice Lorrae, Beni Bjah and the Madjitil Moorna Choir”, according to Jim Morrison, the Co-Convenor of the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA).

“Archie Roach is a multi-award winning Aboriginal singer/songwriter and Stolen Generations man who is best known for his advocacy for the Stolen Generations and for his song “Took the Children Away”, which has become the unofficial anthem for the Stolen Generations. We are therefore honoured and delighted that he has agreed to travel to Perth to join us.”

“Gina Williams, Della-Rae Morrison, Candice Lorrae, Beni Bjah are also award winning singers and songwriters so this is going to be a very special night showcasing some of the best Aboriginal performers in this country. We are also delighted that production for the night is being coordinated by well-known Noongar performer and producer Phil Walley-Stack!”

“This is a significant anniversary for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. This landmark report into the Stolen Generations highlighted the past practice of removing Aboriginal children from their families and the ongoing impact of those policies.  Proceeds from the Concert will support the Yokai: Healing Our Spirit initiative, which provides cultural healing for the Stolen Generations and their families”

“Most of the performers at this Twentieth Anniversary Concert have family connections to the Stolen Generations and they will be joined by Stolen Generations survivors and their families and the reconciliation community to acknowledge this anniversary.  Please come along and join us for what promises to be a memorable night!” Jim Morrison concluded.

For further comment: Jim Morrison on 0408 917 133

If you wish to speak to Archie Roach, please contact his Manager, Jill Shelton on 0414 556 728


 MEDIA RELEASE – 14th February 2017

Close the Gap Solutions in Bringing Them Home Report

The Bringing Them Home Committee (WA) has reiterated its call for Commonwealth and State Governments to implement the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home Report if we are to see an improvement in the Closing the Gap Indicators.

“Yet again, we have seen the release of a Close the Gap Report which indicates that we are not seeing an improvement in indicators for Aboriginal, health, education and employment”, according to Jim Morrison, the Co-Convenor of the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA).

“There were 54 recommendations in the Bringing Them Home Report when it was tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament nearly 20 years ago, and sadly very few of them have been implemented in that time.”

“The ongoing intergenerational trauma as a consequence of the practice of removing Aboriginal children from their families impacts on a vast majority of the Aboriginal community. Until this is acknowledged and programs put in place to tell the truth, provide justice and reparation and heal those impacted, the Close the Gap Report will continue to record negative trends.”

“It is heartening to see the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Shorten, acknowledging that ‘…it’s at the heart of reconciliation, telling the truth, saying sorry, and making good.’ Perhaps he might like to kick off that debate with a review of the recommendations in the Bringing Them Home Report!”

“We also wish to acknowledge the concerns raised by former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, in a speech at the ANU last night where he expressed the valid concern that we are seeing another Stolen Generation being formed. As he rightly said, ‘…we do not want another generation of young Aboriginal children unnecessarily separated from their culture. We do not want to see the emergence of a second Stolen Generation, not by design, but by default.”

“Sadly, the Bringing Them Home Committee is increasingly being asked to assist in cases where young Aboriginal children are being removed from their families and due to the lack of funding for Aboriginal community controlled organisations and programs, they are increasingly being placed in the care of non-Aboriginal organisations or families.”

“I can only hope that the disappointing Close the Gap report today might lead to some action. As Professor Fiona Stanley said at the launch of the Close the Gap campaign at Parliament House in Perth many years ago, we don’t need any new inquiries or reports. The Bringing Them Home Report and many other reports over many years have provided a way forward – we just need to implement the recommendations!” Jim Morrison concluded

Further comment: Jim Morrison ph: 0408 917 133


MEDIA RELEASE – 7 February 2017

ROYAL COMMISSION REVELATIONS MAKE TOUGH READING FOR STOLEN GENERATIONS

The recent revelations about the appallingly high level of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church makes tough reading for the Stolen Generations survivors as they continue with their struggle to get action from Governments on the 54 recommendations in the Bringing Them Home Report that was produced 20 years ago.

“Whilst the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been welcomed by many in the Aboriginal Community, for others there is a great sense of frustration and anger that many of the issues being examined are similar to those raised during the hearings that were undertaken by the Human Rights Commission Inquiry into the Removal of Aboriginal Children”, according to Jim Morrison, Co-Convenor of the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA).

“The Report of that Inquiry, which became known as the Bringing Them Home Report, was tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament on the 26th May 1997 and so this year we will be commemorating the twentieth anniversary of that significant report.”

“The Bringing Them Home Report included reference to the high level of sexual abuse in institutional care, including the staggering fact that “…stories of sexual exploitation and abuse were common in evidence to the Inquiry…and that at least one in every six (17.5%) of witnesses to the Inquiry reported such victimisation”(1).”

“Sadly, only a handful of the 54 recommendations contained in that report have been implemented by Commonwealth or State Governments over the past twenty years. The ongoing pain and trauma suffered by those abused children, and subsequently by their families as a result of intergenerational trauma, has not been acknowledged and reparation and culturally appropriate healing has not been made available to those people.”

“There will be significant events around Australia on 26th May 2017 to commemorate the Twentieth Anniversary of the tabling of the Bringing Them Home Report. In Perth, we will be calling for action from Commonwealth and State Governments to implement the remaining recommendations and hope that the timing of these recent revelation in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will prompt a more sympathetic response!’ Mr Morrison concluded.

For further comment: Jim Morrison Mobile: 0408 917 133

(1) Bringing Them Home Report (1997) page 194


MEDIA RELEASE – 18th January 2017

We need to tell the truth on Australia Day!

The Bringing Them Home Committee (WA) has called for all Australians to learn the truth about what has happened to the First People of this country since colonisation as we reflect on what it is to be Australian on Australia Day.

“As the representative body for Stolen Generations survivors and their families in WA, we ask in particular for a focus on the ongoing trauma being suffered by the Aboriginal community as a result of the past policies of removing Aboriginal children form their families”, according to BTHWA Co-Convenor, Jim Morrison.

“When Aboriginal leaders such as Robert Isaacs challenge Aboriginal people to “get past the hurts of the past”, he ignores the reality that there is still a massive gap in health, education and wellbeing measures between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in this country!”

“This “gap” is highlighted by the appointment today of Noongar man, Ken Wyatt, as Minister for Indigenous Health. This appointment is a worthy one and we should congratulate Mr Wyatt on his achievement but we would not have the need for a Minister for Indigenous Health if there was not a significant shortfall in Aboriginal health outcomes compared to the rest of the population.”

“Recent research has highlighted the sad reality that these inequities in health and wellbeing outcomes are even more significant for the Stolen Generations and their families. Whilst Mr Rudd’s Apology was symbolically important it will never lead to significant changes in outcomes until the rest of the Australian community understands the truth about what happened and supports Stolen Generations survivors and their families to heal.”

“Perhaps when that is achieved, we may be able to “get past the hurts of the past” and take up Mr Isaacs challenge but there is much to be done to tell the truth and heal the wrongs of the past before that can happen”, Mr Morrison concluded.

Further comment: Jim Morrison ph: 0408 917 133


 MEDIA RELEASE

26th July 2016

 ROYAL COMMISSION INTO NORTHERN TERRITORY JUVENILE DETENTION ALSO NEEDS TO EXAMINE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PREVIOUS INQUIRIES

The Bringing Them Home Committee (WA) Inc. (BTHWA) have welcomed the prompt action by the PM to establish a Royal Commission into the shocking situation at juvenile detention centres in the Northern Territory following the revelations on last night’s Four Corners program. They have, however, called for the Terms of Reference to include an examination of the Recommendations of previous Inquiries such as the 1987 Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody and the Bringing Them Home Report, which was tabled in Federal Parliament in 1997.

“Both of these landmark reports were produced over 20 years ago but very few of the recommendations have been implemented” according to BTHWA Co-Convenor, Jim Morrison.

“Sadly, Commonwealth and State Governments have a record of instigating Royal Commissions or Human Rights Commission Inquiries into issues such as deaths in custody or the Stolen Generations but they rarely demonstrate the political will to implement the recommendations!”

“There is no questions that appalling mistreatment of juveniles in detention in the NT needs to be examined as a matter of urgency to ensure that it does not happen again, but governments around Australia need to start taking action to reduce the massive over representation of Aboriginal people in juvenile detention centres in prison around this country.”

“Until the root causes of this tragic situation are dealt with and programs, such as the healing initiatives being pursued by BTHWA, are put in place to deal with them, we will continue to see the tragedies so frighteningly illustrated on Four Corners last night and our First Nation people will continue to fall into a tragic spiral of despair” Mr Morrison concluded.

Further comment: Jim Morrison: 0408 917 133


MEDIA RELEASE

30th May 2016

Stolen Generation Group calls for apology and community education to end ill-informed commentary

The Bringing Them Home Committee (WA), which is the major advocate for Stolen Generations people in Western Australia, has called for greater community education about the Stolen Generations in the light of recent revelations that a political candidate had criticised the Apology to the Stolen Generations in the past.

“We have called on the Liberal Candidate for the State seat of Midland, Daniel Parasiliti, to apologise for his outrageous and ill-informed comments”, according to the Aboriginal Co-Convenor of the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA), Jim Morrison.

“When the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, delivered an Apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008, the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA) expressed concern that unless the broader community understood the context and history around the removal of Aboriginal Children from their families, the Apology would have little meaning or impact”.

“The revelations today about past comments by Mr Parasiliti bear testimony to our concerns.”

“Our Committee ran the largest Sorry Day event in Australia last Thursday, 26th May, on the nineteenth anniversary of the tabling of the Bringing Them Home Report in the Federal Parliament. Sadly, the 2,000 schoolchildren and 1,000 community members who attended the event also confirmed our worst fears in that most told us that they knew little or nothing about the Stolen Generations.”

“It is long overdue for the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home Report, which focus on the three key areas of Truth, Justice and Healing to be implemented so that we can hopefully avoid such ill-informed comments in the future.”

This week is National Reconciliation Week (NRW) and the theme this year is “Our History, Our Story, Our Future”.  As the NRW website explains, “‘Our History’ reminds us all that historical acceptance is essential to our reconciliation journey. Historical acceptance will exist when all Australians understand and accept the fact that past laws, practices and policies deeply affected the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, often having devastating immediate impacts and causing much of the disadvantage that exists today. It is also a commitment to ensuring these wrongs are never repeated in the future.”

“Mr Parasiliti should now accept that his comments were based on ignorance and publicly apologise to the Stolen Generations, but we also hope that during this Reconciliation Week 2016, that all Party Leaders and political candidates in both Federal and State Elections commit to a comprehensive school and community education program about the Stolen Generations and Aboriginal History so that we can heal these very real historical wounds” Mr Morrison concluded.

For comment: Jim Morrison: 0408 917 133


MEDIA ALERT

26th May 2015

Sorry Day Event Promises to be the Biggest Ever

The Bringing Them Home Committee (WA) in conjunction with a wide range of partners will be holding its Annual Sorry Day commemoration at Wellington Square again this year and it promises to be the biggest ever!

This year we will continue the tradition that we have established in recent years of focussing on the involvement of schoolchildren to ensure that the story of the Stolen Generations is not lost. We are anticipating in excess of 1500 schoolchildren from across the Perth metropolitan to turn up at Wellington Square in East Perth from mid morning to participate in a wide range of activities.

The more traditional commemoration event will take place at lunchtime and we anticipate many hundreds of people from the Aboriginal community plus members of the broader community who work in the City and East Perth to join us for this important day to acknowledge the ongoing trauma being suffered by the Stolen Generations and their families.

For further comment:
Jim Morrison: 0408 917 133 or Alan Carter 0428 250 155


MEDIA RELEASE
12TH February 2015

APOLOGY DAY ANNIVERSARY 2015 – TIME TO LOOK
AT THE DOUBLE GAP

This year is the Seventh Anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations and we have seen the release of yet another disappointing report card by the Federal Government on Closing the Gap. It is time, however, to remind the Government that the Apology was focussed on the Stolen Generations and research clearly highlights the reality that there is also an additional gap in health and wellbeing outcomes between the Stolen Generations and their families and the broader Aboriginal community.
Aboriginal Co-Convenor of the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA), Jim Morrison stated on hearing the outcomes of the Close the Gap Report, “We have been aware through many community reports that there are poorer outcomes in health and wellbeing measures for the Stolen Generations and we were delighted that academic research by Associate Professor Michael Dockery from Curtin University provides clear, undeniable evidence to confirm our perceptions.”
Associate Professor Dockery says in one of his Research Papers:
“The legacy of these policies (the policy of removing Aboriginal children from their families) is still apparent in significantly worse health status and higher incidences of arrest and alcohol abuse. Even though these policies were intended to accelerate the integration of Indigenous people into the mainstream economy, the results pertaining to employment outcomes suggest they had exactly the opposite effect” (Michael Dockery “Culture and wellbeing: The case of Indigenous Australians”, CLMR DISCUSSION PAPER SERIES 09/01)

“Sadly past Government funding priorities have not acknowledged the need to address this “double gap” in social outcomes and the plight of the Stolen Generations and their families has been largely ignored. We are looking to the Commonwealth Government to redress this oversight as it reviews the funding for Aboriginal programs across the country”, Jim Morrison concluded.
Further comment: Jim Morrison: 0408 917 133
For a full copy of Associate Professor Michael Dockery’s Paper: http://ceebi.curtin.edu.au/local/docs/2009.01_CultureWellbeing.pdf

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