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‘It never ends’: Trauma of Australia’s ‘stolen’ children | Australia News

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Melbourne, Australia – As a toddler in a children’s jail in Melbourne, Brian Morley cried relentlessly.

Having been taken from his mother by the police in 1960, when he was only two, he became part of what is known as Australia‘s “Stolen Generations”.

Government records at the time stated that his mother, Mary, was an Aboriginal woman “of dull intellect” and was therefore considered an unfit parent, despite working full-time to take care of her three children.

Morley spent the first six months of his removal in Turana Reception Centre, a jail for children.

“As a consequence, I’ve always felt, at a fundamental level, being alone in the world. Even being amongst people, I still feel alone – and I think that will never go,” he says.

“That’s a direct consequence of being removed as a two-year-old.”

‘Throw them to the wind’

Morley was taken from his family as part of a series of policies designed to assimilate Aboriginal children into white Australia.

Between 1900 and 1970, an estimated 100,000 Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their homes and communities and placed with either white families or institutions, according to the landmark 1997 Bringing Them Home report, which heard the stories of people such as Morley.

On February 13, 2008, the then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd issued a historic national apology to the stolen children.

Eleven years later, the anniversary of the apology gives cause for Morley to consider the circumstances of his removal and the ongoing effects it has had on him, including the ongoing pain of forced separation.





Brian Morley’s adoption record [Courtesy Brian Morley]

Split up from his brother and sister and adopted into a non-Aboriginal family, he says his adoptive parents once told him that, had they known he had a brother, they would have adopted him, too.

But, as Morley notes, “that wasn’t the object of the exercise. It was divide and conquer, split them up and throw them to the wind.”

His new family never told him he was Aboriginal, although being a child with dark skin, he says, “I knew something wasn’t quite right.”

The truth of his identity was revealed when, as an adult, Morley received government documents. By then, however, he was suffering from depression and alcoholism.

Yet there was a positive side. 

“To find out that I was part of the oldest surviving culture on the planet was something that made me proud,” Morley says.

Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for tens of thousands of years, and subsequently are considered to have one of the oldest cultural histories on Earth.

Today a gnarled 61-year-old with grey hair, bright eyes and an eloquent beard, Morley is a folk musician who regularly visits schools and community groups to tell his story and sing about his experiences in hopes of educating the broader population about the true history of the country.





Eva Jo Edwards as a child [Courtesy Eva Jo Edwards]

‘When does it all change?’

Eva Jo Edwards – another survivor of the Stolen Generations – was removed as a 10-year-old and placed into a Lutheran children’s home in Melbourne’s southeastern suburbs.

“The idea was that I was to become white,” she says.

The childhood separation of Edwards from her family had long-lasting effects, as well. Her brother, who was also removed, committed suicide aged 25, and her mother became an alcoholic.

While Edwards would see her as a 15-year-old, she says sadly there was no connection. Soon after, her mother passed away.

Such experiences have affected Aboriginal survivors of Australia’s removal policies all across the country.

Last year, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found there were around 17,000 Aboriginal people still battling the effects of the mistreating policies.

The report found more than half live with a disability or have a chronic health condition; 70 percent rely on government welfare; and are more than three times as likely to have been jailed in the past five years compared to other Aboriginal people.





Edwards was removed aged 10 and placed into a Lutheran children’s home in Melbourne [Ali MC/Al Jazeera]

And while the government may have provided an official apology 11 years ago, Aboriginal communities are still faced with a series of ongoing challenges, including high inequality and the continued high rates of children’s removal from their families under child protection laws.

“We still have our kids removed at a higher rate; we still have the incarceration; we still have them dying earlier than a non-Aboriginal person,” Edwards says. “The unemployment is still high, the bad health is still high – where does it all stop, when does it all change?”

While Edwards says she was lucky to be present at Rudd’s 2008 apology, she adds that financial compensation is necessary to help the next generation – people like her children and grandchildren.

In recent times, some Australian states have paid compensation to survivors of the Stolen Generations – most recently up to AUD$75 000 ($53,000) by the government of New South Wales

Yet Victoria, the home of Morley and Edwards, refuses to do so, despite ongoing advocacy efforts by Aboriginal community groups and survivors themselves.

Instead, the Victorian government says they support a national compensation scheme, which Rudd was not prepared to undertake at the time of the apology – and looks unlikely to come about.

In fact, many survivors of the “Stolen Generations” in Victoria feel they have been neglected.

“I don’t think it ever ends,” Edwards says, reflecting on the devastating impacts of her removal.

As for Morley, he says simply: “You could give me a million bucks, but it wouldn’t fix my head or my heart.”

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Tiger-Cats claim victory against the Argos to maintain home record on Labour Day

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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were at their devastating best against the Toronto Argonauts when the two locked horns on Labour Day at the Tim Hortons Field.

Just like with previous Labour Day fixtures, the Ticats produced a stellar performance with Dane Evans throwing two touchdown passes while Frankie Williams scored on a 67-yard punt return as they claimed a 32-19 victory on Monday. With this vital win, the Ticats extended their Labour Day home record to 7-0.

For players and fans of the Tiger-Cats, games on Labour Day are a lot more special and losing is something the Ticats aren’t used to.

“We know the fans are going to be behind us, we know Toronto is going to be chippy, we know it’s going to be sunny; we know it’s going to be windy. Everything that happened (Monday) we prepared for. There is something extremely special about Tim Hortons Field on Labour Day . . . you can feel it in the air, I can’t put it into words,” said Evans.

After the COVID-19 induced hiatus, the CFL is back in full action and fans can now bet on their favourite teams and just like with online slots Canada, real money can be won. Hamilton (2-2) recorded its second straight win to move into a tie atop the CFL East Division standings with Montreal Alouettes (2-2). Also, the Ticats lead the overall Labour Day series with Toronto 36-13-1.

In the sun-drenched gathering of 15,000—the maximum allowed under Ontario government COVID-19 protocols—the fans loved every minute of this feisty game. After all, this was the Ticats first home game in 659 days, since their 36-16 East Division final win over Edmonton in November 2019.

The contest between the Ticats and Argos was certainly not bereft of emotions, typical of a Labour Day fixture, as it ended with an on-field melee. But the Argos often found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions with several penalty calls and most of the game’s explosive plays.

Hamilton quarterback Evans completed 21-of-29 passing for 248 yards and the two touchdowns while Toronto’s make-shift quarterback Arbuckle completed 18-of-32 attempts for 207 yards. Arbuckle also made a touchdown and two interceptions before eventually being substituted by McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Bethel-Thompson made an eight-yard TD pass to wide receiver Eric Rogers late in the final quarter of the game.

“They got after us a bit . . . we didn’t block, or pass protect well,” said Ryan Dinwiddie, rookie head coach of the Argos in a post-match interview. “They just kicked our butts; we’ve got to come back and be a better team next week.”

The Labour Day contest was the first of four fixtures this year between Toronto and Hamilton. The two teams would face off again on Friday at BMO Field. Afterwards, the Tim Hortons Field will play host to the Argonauts again on Oct. 11 with the regular-season finale scheduled for Nov. 12 in Toronto.

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Roughriders looking to bounce back after Labor Day defeat

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In what an unusual feeling for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they would now need to dust themselves up after a 23-8 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in what was a Labor Day Classic showdown in front of a full capacity crowd at Mosaic stadium.

Craig Dickenson, head coach of the Riders, witnessed his team with an unbeaten record get utterly dominated by a more superior team from Winnipeg. Now, he has got a lot of work on his hands getting his team back to winning ways as they visit the Banjo Bowl next.

“We’re going to see what we’re made of now…the jury’s out,” said Dickenson.

Dan Clark, who played centre for the Riders expressed his disappointment in losing what was “the biggest game of the year”.

 “If you lose every other game, you don’t want to lose that one. We’ve just got to take the next step,” said Clark in a report. “There are 12 steps to the Grey Cup left and it’s just about taking that next step and focusing on what Saturday will bring.”

With their first defeat to Winnipeg, the Riders (3-1) now rank second place in the CFL’s West Division, trailing the Bombers by one victory (4-1). However, the Riders will have the chance to even the season series during their trip to Winnipeg this Saturday. With the CFL heating up, fans can now enjoy online sports betting Canada as they look forward to their team’s victory.

The Rider’s offensive line will once again have a busy time dealing with the Blue Bombers’ defence.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who played one of the best games of his career two weeks earlier, had quite a stinker against the Bombers in the Labour Day Classic—which is the most anticipated game for Rider fans.

Fajardo had a 59 per cent completion percentage which wasn’t quite indicative of what the actual figure was considering he was at 50 per cent before going on a late drive in the final quarter with the Bombers already becoming laid back just to protect the win.

Fajardo also registered a personal worst when he threw three interceptions, but in all fairness, he was always swarmed by the Bomber’s defence.

While Fajardo has claimed responsibility for the loss and letting his teammates down, many would be curious to see how the team fares in their next game and with less than a week of preparation.

Dickenson is confident that his team would improve during their rematch in the 17th edition of the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg. The only challenge now would be the loss of home advantage and dealing with the noisy home crowd, he added.

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Canadian report reveals spike in food-related litter during pandemic

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TORONTO — Restaurants’ inability to offer their usual dine-in service during much of 2020 may explain why an unusually high amount of food-related litter was found across the country, a new report says.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) is an annual program in which volunteers are encouraged to clean up green spaces and other natural areas.

Last year, single-use food and beverage containers made up 26.6 per cent of waste collected through the program – nearly twice as high a percentage as in 2019, before the pandemic.

“We suspect the change may be one of the many implications of COVID-19, including more people ordering restaurant takeaway and consuming more individually packaged foods,” GCSC spokesperson Julia Wakeling said in a press release.

While food- and beverage-related litter accounted for a greater percentage of waste uncovered by GCSC than in the past, it wasn’t the single largest category of items picked up through the program last year.

That dubious honour goes to cigarette butts and other smoking-related paraphernalia, which comprised nearly 29 per cent of all items collected. There were more than 83,000 cigarette butts among the 42,000 kilograms of waste found and clean up last year.

So-called “tiny trash” – little pieces of plastic and foam – also accounted for a sizeable share of the waste, making up 26.8 per cent of the total haul.

In addition to smoking-related items and tiny trash, the main pieces of litter removed by GCSC volunteers last year included nearly 22,000 food wrappers, more than 17,500 pieces of paper, more than 13,000 bottle caps and more than 10,000 beverage cans.

Discarded face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment were also detected and cleaned up, although not tallied in their own category.  PPE waste has been repeatedly cited as a concern by environmental advocates during the pandemic; a robin in Chilliwack, B.C. is the earliest known example of an animal that died due to coronavirus-related litter.

The GCSC is an annual program organized by Ocean Wise and the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Its operations were disrupted by the pandemic as well; only 15,000 volunteers took part in the program last year, versus 85,000 in 2019, due to delays and public health restrictions making large group clean-ups impossible.

Still, there was GCSC participation from every province and the Northwest Territories in 2020. Nearly half of the volunteers who took part were based in B.C., where the program began in 1994.

Data from past GCSC reports was used as part of the research backing Canada’s ban on certain single-use plastic items, which is scheduled to take effect by the end of 2021.

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