[LINK] [OT] "we say sorry"

Jan Whitaker jwhit at melbpc.org.au
Thu Feb 14 11:05:11 EST 2008


At 10:42 AM 14/02/2008, Stephen Wilson wrote:
>IANAL but it does seem clear to me that eligibility for compensation 
>and the government's apology are separate (and properly separable) 
>issues. Regardless of what was said by the PM yesterday, Aborigines 
>have been subject to episodes of removal, which it is argued caused 
>great harm. To determine what compensation is due, there are facts 
>at issue which need to be uncovered and tested, sometimes in court.

I heard a lawyer-type on radio yesterday say that civil action has 
been changed by tort reform and that 'apologies' like this are not 
usable as evidence in court to support culpability. So if you're in 
an accident in your car and you say sorry, that is not considered an 
admission of guilt. I don't know if that reform was national or state 
based, though. The guy talked like it was national. His point was 
that this 'sorry' wouldn't make the government or 'state' any more 
liable than they already were as you say by the facts. And that is 
probably where there is not automatic compensation fund being set up.

BUT that doesn't mean that it wouldn't be cheaper to have one, even 
if there were a few directly removed people, NOT their descendents, 
who got some money that would be spent as 'legal system welfare'. Why 
clog up the courts for this? Give all 50,000 or whatever number, many 
of whom have already passed, $10,000. Make it that only a living 
person can collect. Say there were 2000 cases brought, then at 
$2mil/case = $4bil. Say 10,000 claimants are still living, $100mil.

I haven't thought this through, so don't throw brickbats if you disagree.

Jan




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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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