"Bereft of human decency"
Dr Naomi Mayers OAM, Chairperson of the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW, described the reckless remarks of Prime Minister John Howard and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs John Herron that "there was never a generation of stolen children", as callous and misguided. In a statement Dr Mayers said: "The Australian Government's cruel and inhumane practice of forcibly removing Aboriginal children from their families is well documented and acknowledged to have been based on assimilationist policies aimed at eradicating Aboriginal people as a race. "The trauma for thousands of Aboriginal children and their families continues to impact upon the health and well being of the Aboriginal community to this day. "To suggest that their stories were emotive and exaggerated is both erroneous and bereft of compassion and human decency. If ten percent of the wider Australian population were systematically removed from their families over several generations it would invoke public outcry and give grounds for international condemnation. "The Australian Government's current xenophobic stance makes it appear futile to again call for the implementation of the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home Report. "We call instead upon leaders of this nation to disassociate themselves from these divisive comments and ask that the Minister, to whom the comments have been attributed, be removed from the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio as his ineptness and unsuitability are self-evident to everyone other than himself."