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Australia Says Sorry

"Wherever you were this morning I hope you managed to hear and see the government's apology to the stolen generations. The message was loud and clear. Australia is sorry. There will be no more lies and evasions; the government of Australia apologises for what it did. The first business of the new Parliament was the making of a long overdue forceful and formal acknowledgement of dreadful wrongs and a sincere expression of sorrow for the pain and grief these wrongs caused. It is not incongruous or wrong to feel joyfulness and optimism because the joy is for what might come of what was done so well today."
Lucy Tartan on an incredible day.

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


19 thoughts on “Australia Says Sorry

  1. It was pretty amazing! Thanks so much for posting the links – it’s great to see what other people are saying (not just the lowest common denominator comments on the news.com.au blogs).

  2. Yeah, it was very moving, though well overdue. Have to admit I got a bit teary watching it.

    btw – I just finished the book and loved every word! 🙂

    j.

  3. It was pretty moving – I did blub a bit (blaming it on the hormones) and for the first time in a long time I felt proud to be an aussie.

  4. About time….and I think K-Rudd’s speech was well-thought out and heartfelt. For the first time in my life, I actually wished I lived in Canberra so I could have attended.

    Pity that tool Brendan Nelson had to go and ruin it…. The back-turning from the crowd in response was amazing, and made my heart glad. 🙂

    Let’s hope this really is the first step in redressing some of the social imbalances and past injustices.

  5. I cried all the way through, of course. Go Kev.
    first time I have ever been proud of a prime minister.

    This is a different place now! The first week of a new country.

  6. I feel the same way danni does – for the first time in, well, since I was a little kid I guess! – I’m proud to be an Australian.

  7. A great (and well overdue) speech by Kevin Rudd.

    Full transcript here:

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23207256-5013172,00.html

    I remember when I was in Sydney a couple of years ago and stumbled upon a well hidden plaque (beside the motorway above Circular Quay) that showed Sydney’s history (probably for the benefit of Olympic visitors). It stated that Indigenous Australians weren’t even counted in the census AS Australians until the 1970s.

    There was a lot of interesting reading on that plaque – and a lot of missing history when I visited the Australian Museum.

    The best point of the apology is it sets the foundations for a new future – one that the Indigenous peoples have to fight hard for as much as the Europeans.

    Lovely to see and especially to see the reaction of the crowds.

    Scott F
    A Kiwi but it’s nice to see the neighbours heading in the right direction 😉

  8. Very moving, I got a lump in my throat reading the links. I’d known about this because I saw a movie called Rabbit-proof Fence — very good, but be prepared to cry for a couple hours.

    The same thing happened in the U.S. with some Native Americans. Tragic.

  9. It really was very moving.
    Just to put it in plainer terms… here is a direct quote from my 7 year old daughter who had show and tell on that very special day….
    “Today Kevin07 will say sorry to us, because his ancestors stole my poppy’s nanna”.
    Teacher: “and why did they take your poppy’s nanna?”
    “Because half of her skin was white, and the other half was brown. Her mummy was an aboriginal and brown…and her daddy was white. So her mummy wasn’t allowed to keep her”.
    Even a seven year old can see how wrong it was….amazing that it has taken so long for this apology to be forthcoming.
    Go KRudd!

  10. As an Aboriginal canadian, I applaud your government for righting the wrongs… stolen generations? God, what a wonderful way to put it….

    Maybe Canada will come out of the ice-age someday and join you guys 🙂

  11. shauna dearest, it is entirely flatteringly wonderful to be noted as an obsession of yours. has taken me a while to catch on…then I spied the link. You are sweet.
    thanks for the nice comment too.

  12. Hi…. I’ve lived in Perth (Western Australia… not Scotland!) for 41 years. It has never been denied that some Aboriginal children were taken from their families just because they were Aboriginal but, for the most part the children that were placed with other families were ‘stolen’ because the government of the time thought that they were being mistreated. And… this mistreatment of a large number of Aboriginal children continues today in the hands of their own families…..and no amount of non-aboriginal people saying sorry or government money (money from the Australian people) will correct this atrocity.

    You only have to look at these communities & the facts and figures – STDs in aboriginal children under the age of 16 (especially under the age of 6) is rife, children rome around the streets unclothes and uncared for, most children do not attend school and many are lucky to even get one meal per day. Aboriginal adults sit in groups and drink from early morning. This does not happen (in this huge extent and concentration) in other group of people in this country.. if this was happening in non-aboriginal communities these children would be ‘stolen’ and placed in families where they were cared for properly and not abused by their own. The millions and millions of dollars given to these aboriginal communities receive on an ongoing basis and the millions of dollars worth on housing other other infrastructure that has been built will not fix this problem…. these aflicted communities need to respect themselves and each other, especially their children.

    This is not just hear say either…. I am personally involved in an industry which provides services to aboriginal school children and I personally drive past an Aboriginal community here, right in the Perth metro area every week (and also I see a regional aboriginal community several times a year in central eastern area of Western Australia where I have family members living). In these communities, the homes that previous governments have built are smashed up by their residents, rubbish litters the streets and naked children and older unkept children are visable during the day when school is in. Adults also are visble drunk and laying on mattresses under trees clearly visable by people passing by on the roads. Almost all adults in these communities do not work. And… as unemployment levels in Australia are at an all time low, these people choose to not work. Having large groups of people not working and several generations of any family not working or never having worked really causes HUGE entrenched social & emotional issues long term for these families and communities.

    The sad thing is that these two communities are NOT in remote areas. One is just 20kms from the capital city (Perth) and the other is 5 minutes from the centre of a large regional town with 80,000 residents.

    So…I am not like all of you other people thinking saying “sorry” is so wonderful and that it will fix everything…. it will not! Saying sorry was a good thing and is morally right to those people who were removed from their families who had not been abused. But really…. should we be sorry for the kids who were being abused and were placed in families where they were well treated, fed, clothed and schooled?

    However, this also sorry has major legal ramifications for all Australians from individual claims by subsequent generations of the ‘stolen generation’. Not claims by people directly affect… but claims by people 2 or 3 generations later! The very day of saying ‘sorry’ claims were lodged and hundreds have been lodged since…. and most likely this will go on for a long time to come. The govt may have catagorically said that ‘sorry’ did not come with a price tag… but sadly I think it will.

  13. But…. in saying that there is still a huge problem in many Aboriginal communites there are also many Aboriginal peoples who are doing well – particularly those who are born into residential areas that are diverse areas with people of a diversity of origins (rather than ‘aboriginal communities’ where many issues compound due to lack of work, remoteness to health services etc).

    We also have an aboriginal family member in our own family. He came as a foster child of just a few weeks old from a remote West Australian aboriginal community in 1970. He became the youngest child in a white family. He went to school every day with his (adopted) siblings… he finished high school with the support and encouragement of his ‘adopted’ family… he went to teachers college and he because a school teacher who taught in local schools as well as in aboriginal communities. His biological family knew who had fostered him out knew where he lived with his ‘new’ family but never contacted him as he was growing up… however as a man in his early 20’s he met with his biological family and learnt why they ‘gave him up’. The reason was not that he was taken away from them, but rather that they had a large family and could not properly look after him and they felt he would have a better chance with a white family and they gave him over to government authorities. This wonderful and proud man now has a wife and a bunch of beautiful children himself. He also knows that if he had stayed with his biological family that he would not have become a teacher in fact he most likely would have not completed his high school education at all. Not all aboriginal children fostered by non-aboriginal families suffered.

  14. Kek, it’s unfortunate that you think Brendan Nelson highlighting the endemic incidence of abuse in our remote communities was a bad thing. He’s such a ‘tool’ for reminding us that the Sorry Day shenanigans didn’t actually save any children from a life of destitution and poverty, right?

    How dare he focus on the very real problems of the present, when there was so much symbolic pandering to be done! But at least you felt good, right. You didn’t want any nasty images of three year olds being molested to spoil your important day.

  15. I too live in Perth Western Australia.
    And have never met or spoken to Samantha.
    That out of the way I must say Samantha you said it so well that I can not add more.
    Only in saying that Mr Rudd was making him self feel good as nothing will change for the aboriginal families that have suffered. Sorry is but an empty word the money Claims will come as they already Have it will not fix the heart ace the tears and the pain. But we must start to live together as AUSTRALAINS and not as a split country. Then the healing will start.

  16. Oh no, I thought when I started on the comments on this post – the Labor voters are here too, trumpeting the glory of their ‘sorry’ prime minister. Then, thank God for common sense. Thank you Samantha, for telling it like it is, and to Jan B. and Beatrice for agreeing. I’m heading up to Darwin from Melbourne next month, and in some ways I’m dreading seeing those down and out Aboriginal people around the town. Why can’t they get off alcohol and get a life, instead of holding a grudge for 200 years?

  17. To be fair: white or black, once your trapped at the bottom it’s very difficult to rise up. Once you are tarred with a particular brush it’s next to impossible to find someone to give you a chance. Yes, I know there are those who won’t take a chance offered and that it a cause for sadness, they have effectively stolen that chance from another.

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