By Nadia Daly
An Aboriginal politician has made a passionate address to Northern Territory Parliament about a child protection system he says is failing Indigenous children.
Member for Nhulunbuy Yingiya Mark Guyula took the unprecedented step of naming nine children he said were recently “stolen”.
The children he was referring were placed in government foster care in Darwin.
“I want to say to these children, you are loved,” Mr Guyula said.
This week Mr Guyula slammed the Northern Territory Government’s child protection system
He said laws stating attempts must be made to place Aboriginal children with their extended family and community were being “broken”.
Nine children named
NT Families Minister Dale Wakefield has vowed to meet with Mr Guyula to discuss his concerns.
In his brief but passionate address to Parliament, Mr Guyula spoke to the nine children he named directly.
“You are not orphans,” he said.
“There is no such thing as ‘orphan’ in Yolngu society. There is always another kin that can care for you.”
He said the children’s families had fought for them and did not want them to go.
‘Sorry you have been stolen’
“You were taken by force and they never wanted you to go,” Mr Guyula said.
“Your people, your nation, did not want you to go.
“Your family, your nation are fighting for you now.
“We are sorry you have been stolen from us.”
He apologised to the children for losing hope in the face of a system “that threatens our existence”.
“We want you back. Never believe you can’t come back,” he said.
On the anniversary of Kevin Rudd’s national apology for the Stolen Generations this week, the former prime minister warned of the potential for a second stolen generation because of the growing numbers of Indigenous children being placed in foster care nationally.