Having the truth recognised is no small thing. In Queensland until , the Director of Native Welfare was the legal guardian of all Aboriginal children—whether their parents were living or not. The Apology had to be fought for every step of the way. Individuals can have their own opinions. However, his most famous speech, the apology speech, had a few small contributions, but was largely written by himself. Unfortunately, however, the Abbott Government imposed significant budget cuts to Indigenous programs including services to improve Indigenous health, and now the Turnbull Government is refusing to recommit to the much-needed investment in housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in remote Australia.
Reconciliation Australia is an independent national organisation promoting reconciliation and was also heavily involved. The overwhelming majority of non-Indigenous Australians received the apology to the Stolen Generations positively. I was worried that opposition to an apology would grow if we let it linger. There were very strong feelings against the Northern Territory Emergency Response, both about the way in which it had been announced with absolutely no consultation, and with some of the radical changes that were put in place. Now I realise that [the apology] is not about black people or white people, it’s really about families.
It’s not enough that students simply know of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s sorry to these ‘generations’ of ‘stolen’ children no one can actually find. Many survivors had to deal with their own memories as well as dealing with the inevitable criticisms that were often harsh. But Nelson refused to change his position. It was a privilege to be told these stories. Most Aboriginal Leaders immediately agreed to the date. It was very hard for me to read out loud as I was so emotional.
Reflections on the apology: Kevin Rudd in conversation with Stan Grant
White Australia’s responsibility, like its shame, is monstrous. Linda has been a great guide and help to me as a friend and colleague esssay the Labor Party. Nelson had pointed to the internal political pressures on him. Each and every one of the symbols had been so carefully thought through.
This was a regular reminder that it was not inevitable that the Apology would take place, or that it would be on the first day of the Parliament. Interestingly, the Morgan poll had speeech second question immediately after this one, asking “whether or not there should be a federal government apology”, not mentioning the Prime Minster at all and providing four instead of just two possible answers.
How We Said Sorry: Reflecting on the Apology, a Decade On
The Apology was turned into a beautiful calligraphic manuscript on vellum by artist Gemma Black. One was from Alec Kruger: This is school, not a politburo meeting. All of us damaged and too young to know what to do. So mindful of that, and mindful of what then happened to those Aboriginal kids with whom we played — most of whom are not alive to this day — it haunted me as well.
In the second generation, the problems become insurmountable.
It is not a process owned by the government of the day. Michael organises an Apology anniversary breakfast each year in Sydney. Protecting our children is up to all of us.
Blackfellas will get the words, the whitefellas will keep the money. In those times the Aboriginal children were ordered out of school.
‘Sorry’ apology to Stolen Generations
It was a great relief that all had gone smoothly and that the truth about what had been done to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was now accepted. The Apology now has a special place in our national story—as day of reckoning, of repentance, of forgiveness.
Should the government say ‘sorry’?
Everyone had to compromise on something at some point. For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.
Howard used it as a political wedge:. We reflect on their past mistreatment. That night, worry the lawns at the front of Parliament House, GetUp! He had sought assurances on the words that would be used that would help him support the Apology. Events were organised in every capital city, and large screens were put up so that the broadcast could be seen. Everyone else was seated when we arrived. We needed to show ezsay we could do both—address the shocking disadvantage suffered by Indigenous Australians, most starkly demonstrated in the year life expectancy gap, and foster relationships with Aboriginal people based on mutual trust and respect.