Seven’s morning breakfast show Sunrise is set to be sued for racial discrimination over a Stolen Generations episode in March 2018.
The segment saw one of the panelists say in relation to the Stolen Generations: “We need to do it again, perhaps”.
Sunrise host Samantha Armytage, radio presenter Bend Davis and commentator Prue MacSween were discussing children being removed from Indigenous and non-Indigenous families when the comment was made.
The panelists were talking about a push by the federal government to change adoption policies for indigenous kids.
Children’s minister David Gillespie argued that white families should be allowed to adopt abused Aboriginal children to save them from rape, assault and neglect.
MacSween said it would be “crazy to even contemplate people arguing against this”.
She said: “We can’t have another generation of young Indigenous children being abused in this way, and this conspiracy of silence and fabricated PC outlook that it’s better to leave them in this dangerous environment,”
“Don’t worry about the people who decry and handwring and say that this will be another Stolen Generation.
“Just like the first Stolen Generation, where a lot of children were taken because it was for their wellbeing, we need to do it again, perhaps.”
The comment caused protests outside Sunrise‘s studio in Martin Place, while a complaint was filed to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in September 2018 by Aboriginal elders and young leaders.
The group’s law firm said in a statement on Thursday settlement negotiations with the AHRC had “collapsed”, meaning the complainants were suing Channel Seven, Samantha Armytage and Pruce MacSween in Federal Court.
The group must be issued a certification from the HRC before it can file its case.
It is understood the case will include a request for an on-air apology.
Seven was previously sued for defamation over the same segment, as the segment broadcasted footage alongside the story featuring residents in Yirrkala, an Aboriginal community one thousand kilometers east from Darwin.
The Yolngu group filed a lawsuit in February this year, with the Court ruling Sunrise was required to broadcast a public apology and pay an undisclosed sum to the group.
A Seven spokesperson told B&T: “Although we don’t disbelieve the reports, Seven is not aware of any actual claim being filed at this stage – so is not able to comment on this action.
“If and when anything is filed, we will review and take the appropriate steps. Seven settled the original matter in late 2019 in the Federal Court with the Yirrkala community and the Yolngu families and offered an unreserved apology on air shortly after.”
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