Bishop urges more action on "Stolen Wages"
In the lead up to Thursday's Australia Day celebration, Bishop Christopher Saunders has said it is a time to acknowledge the contribution of all people who are a part of the Australian community, including indigenous Australians who had their wages withheld.
Bishop Saunders, Bishop of Broome and chair of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, made the statement yesterday, as the Commission releasaed its Background Paper on the non-payment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers during the 20th Century.
Bishop Saunders urged all Australians to acknowledge the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers on Australia Day.
"Over many generations people from a range of cultural backgrounds have helped to build the nation," he said. "Sadly the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers is yet to be fully acknowledged."
Bishop Saunders acknowledged that there has been some movement by governments to recognise the wages that were not paid and to address this important issue. But he insisted that much more remains to be done in order to meet the demands of justice.
In the state of Queensland, an extended deadline for people to claim stolen wages will pass at the end of this month. However, by the end of 2005, only one third of the money allocated for the reparations package had been claimed. The background paper, titled Stolen Wages: An Opportunity for Justice?, describes the response of Australian governments to date.
More action on "Stolen Wages" needed (Australian Catholic Social Justice Council 23/1/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic Social Justice Commission
Commission urges Govt to re-negotiate "stolen wages" package (CathNews 14/7/05)
Stolen Wages - An Opportunity for Justice (Australian Catholic Social Justice Council 23/1/06) - or
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24 Jan 2006