The central charge made by the advocates of the Stolen Generations is as follows:
Children were forcibly removed from indigenous Australians as young as possible for the immediate purpose of raising them separately from and ignorant of their culture and people, and for the ultimate purposes of suppressing any distinct Aboriginal culture, thereby ending the existence of the Aborigines as a distinct people.
Or in the words of the Australian National University historian Peter Read:
Welfare officers, removing children solely because they were Aboriginal, intended and arranged that they should lose their Aboriginality, and that they never return home.
According to Australia’s Human Rights Commission, this amounted to genocide:
The policy of forcible removal of children from Indigenous Australians to other groups for the purpose of raising them separately from and ignorant of their culture and people could properly be labelled ‘genocidal’ in breach of binding international law.
Using the above works as its sources, the SBS television series First Australians encapsulated the charge for a popular audience:
Between 1910 and 1970 an estimated 50,000 Aboriginal children were removed from their families. Most were aged under five.