Paul and Arthur Ah Wang are 76 years old and they are angry.
From age 13 the brothers worked side-by-side on a pearling lugger off Mackay, free diving to collect pearl shell and doing deckhand duties. It was dangerous work, and if they misbehaved they were often sent below decks to bed without dinner.
Both brothers claimed for their stolen wages under the Beattie government’s $54M reparations package for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders wages and pensions which were controlled by government. In a bizarre twist, Paul received just $3000 for his years of work and labour, while Arthur application was rejected due to insufficient documentary evidence.
Along with Ron Monaghan from the QCU, they met with the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Curtis Pitt, to seek stolen wages justice.
They spoke with Tiga on ‘Let’s Talk’ directly after this meeting. Listen to the podcast below.