BISHOP William Morris of Toowoomba has condemned the Queensland Government’s offer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders for past unpaid wages as ‘only a faint shadow of justice’.
‘The way in which the offer was made and the process of consultation would not have been tolerated if the people involved had been white middle-class public servants,’ he said in a statement on August 9.
‘These people are expected to sign for $4000 or $2000 without being shown any of their wage records.
‘As part of an out-of-court settlement, they will never be allowed to claim for other unpaid entitlements, nor will they be allowed to seek legal action if they were ever victims of sexual harassment or workplace bullying.
‘Most of us take for granted that we benefit from an inheritance of our parents and grandparents when they pass away.
‘For many Aboriginal people this inheritance will remain the property of the State of Queensland.’
Bishop Morris said he and the diocese’s Social Justice Commission urged Premier Peter Beattie and Aboriginal and Islander Affairs Minister Judy Spence to appoint an independent body to investigate a just and fair settlement.