21 Dec 2013

WA stolen generation test case fails

7:10 am on 21 December 2013

An Aboriginal family split up by the West Australian state government's former policy of forcibly removing indigenous children has lost a Supreme Court bid for compensation.

Donald and Sylvia Collard, from the town of Kondinin, were seeking redress from the WA government after their seven children were removed without consent by state officials and placed in state care between March 1958 and December 1961.

AAP reports the action was considered by the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA to be a test case for thousands of other indigenous West Australians.

But on Friday, WA Supreme Court Justice Janine Pritchard dismissed the case in a 410-page judgment.

"This test case was more than a case for the Collard family alone," said ALSWA chief executive Dennis Eggington.

"It was a test case for thousands of our people who were also stolen from their families and we knew that this case could have the capacity to rights the wrongs of the past.

"You cannot underestimate how difficult this process was for family members, but they persevered and can hold their heads high in the knowledge that they played such a significant role in this historical case."

Lavan Legal, which lodged the writ in May 2010, acted on a pro bono basis.