Case comment: Cubillo and Gunner V The Commonwealth: a denial of the stolen generation?

Cassidy, Julie 2003, Case comment: Cubillo and Gunner V The Commonwealth: a denial of the stolen generation?, Griffith law review, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 114-136.

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Title Case comment: Cubillo and Gunner V The Commonwealth: a denial of the stolen generation?
Formatted title Case comment: Cubillo and Gunner V The Commonwealth: a denial of the stolen generation?
Author(s) Cassidy, Julie
Journal name Griffith law review
Volume number 12
Issue number 1
Start page 114
End page 136
Publisher Griffith Law Review Association
Place of publication Nathan, Qld
Publication date 2003
ISSN 1038-3441
Summary In the recent Australian decision in Cubillo and Gunner v The Commonwealth ( ‘Cubillo 3’ ), the Full Court of the Federal Court dismissed an appeal by the Aboriginal claimants seeking damages for, inter alia, their removal from their families and detention at certain Aboriginal institutions. The removal and detention of the plaintiffs was held to be lawful in the earlier determination of O’Loughlin J because it was, inter alia, believed to be in the [then] child’s best interests and, as the plaintiffs bore the onus of proof, they had failed to show that they were taken without the consent of their parents/guardians. This decision was based upon the factual finding that ‘at the relevant times, there was no general policy in force in the Northern Territory supporting the indiscriminate removal and detention of part-Aboriginal children, irrespective of the personal circumstances of each child’. The Full Court did not comment on O’Loughlin J’s assertion that the policy of removing part-Aboriginal children, as asserted by the plaintiffs, could not be maintained. Moreover, the Full Court in fact joined O’Loughlin J in trying to distance their findings from the broader issue of the legal rights of members of the Stolen Generation, emphasising that they were only concerned with the particular circumstances of the two plaintiffs/appellants. This case comment is not aimed at evaluating the specific legal issues raised by the plaintiffs’ claims in this case or reviewing the history of the Stolen Generation, but rather seeks to examine O’Loughlin J’s comment as to the absence of a policy of indiscriminate removal and detention of part-Aboriginal children in a bid to determine the parameters intended by the court. It will be seen that, at its broadest, the statement is quite inflammatory and may be seen as a denial of the Stolen Generation. It will be submitted that this was not intended by the court. At its narrowest, the statement is merely an assertion that the particular plaintiffs failed to prove their cases. It will be submitted that, whilst this clearly was the view of the court, O’Loughlin J’s statement does have broader implications which, it will be contended, are not warranted.
Language eng
Indigenous content on
Field of Research 180101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Business and Law
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