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The new Mabo? $190 million stolen wages settlement is unprecedented, but still limited

Thalia Anthony writes in The Conversation (11.7.19) about the Queensland Government's settlement of a stolen wages class action by past Indigenous workers, noting that this payment marks the first recognition that these claims have legal as well as moral and political merit.

'The Queensland government’s in-principle agreement to pay A$190 million in compensation for the wages withheld from more than 10,000 Indigenous workers is a watershed moment for the stolen wages movement.

'Indigenous people across Australia have been fighting for their denied and withheld wages for decades, both on the streets and in the courts. There have been some victories along the way and many setbacks.

'The significance of the Queensland settlement (to settle a class action) is that it marks the first recognition these claims have legal as well as moral and political merit. Its ramifications are potentially limited, however, given the full injustice of how Indigenous wages were stolen.

'... For justice for all wronged Indigenous workers, there needs to be broad-based reparations for stolen wages. This requires truth commissions and a commitment by governments and anyone else that profited from that theft to restore what is owed.'

 

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