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Apologies

I'm a few days late, I know, but:

THE Federal Government today vowed to officially apologise to indigenous Australians as soon as possible - but the Opposition insists there are bigger fish to fry.

It was revealed today that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, having moved reconciliation to the top of his reform agenda, is racing to finalise a full-blown apology to the stolen generation in time for the opening of Parliament on February 12.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin would not commit to a date today, saying the Government was still consulting and wanted to get it right.

"We do want to make the apology as early as possible in the new parliament, but we want to complete the consultations first," she said.

...

"We have been consulting widely, I'm continuing to consult with representative groups of the stolen generation and once we have that right, we'll be able to move forward," she [Macklin] said, adding the Government had received legal advice on the possible legal ramifications of a formal apology.

"I think if you look at the evidence from the state governments, all of the state governments have issued formal apologies in their parliaments and there haven't been any legal ramifications as a result of those apologies," she said.

...

But Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson said Labor appeared to be dealing with the apology as its highest priority amid rising petrol and grocery prices and interest rate hikes, which were more immediate concerns.

Dr Nelson also said all Australians should be consulted - not just representatives of Aboriginal groups - before any apology was made.

"Whatever the attitude of Australians towards this generation apologising for things done by earlier generations, you really have got to ask yourself is this the highest priority for the Australian Parliament?" Dr Nelson said.

Dr Nelson said he personally had a "bit of concern about the idea that one generation should be held responsible for things that happened in the past".

...

Mr Rudd again ruled out paying compensation, despite calls for $1 billion to be paid to Aboriginal people who were removed from their families as children.

A range of other options are also being explored ahead of the opening of Parliament in a fortnight.

The local Ngunnawal people may perform a "welcome to country" on the floor of the Parliament - the first time this has been done. Another option is the role of indigenous culture to be given strong recognition during the opening ceremony.

But the biggest controversy would be if Mr Rudd formally says "sorry" on the floor of the Parliament.


In short: Saying an apology never hurt anyone, no we won't give them money, and yes, over in the corner are the narrow minded fuckers who make us look good. Please, take notes.

Everyone up to speed now?

Link.

Comments

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ataxi
Jan. 31st, 2008 05:43 am (UTC)
"Saying an apology never hurt anyone, no we won't give them money"
The new government would have little right to offer a substantial compensation package to the survivors and descendants of the Stolen Generation without building public consensus first. That's not something that can be unveiled as surprise policy mere weeks after an election victory.

Not only that, but a compensation scheme would provoke public debate some of which would have an ugly, divisive character.

I'm glad that the Rudd government is acting so promptly to make a formal apology a reality. It's been ALP policy for some time (since quite early during Beazley's leadership IIRC) and there's been so much chat about it and its implications during the Howard years that it's assumed an unreal status.

When it's done people will see that it was a good, necessary and just thing to do, quite apart from the other issues facing the indigenous community - poverty, education, loss of culture, prejudice - that still urgently need to be addressed.
benpeek
Jan. 31st, 2008 07:03 am (UTC)
i do actually agree in the apology. i think its the important and right thing to do.

the cynic in me, however, notes how quickly they go out of their way to say there will be no cash settlements. which, y'know, to be honest i am myself not settled on either way. i'm just hoping when it finally happens and is done that it will be done right.
ataxi
Jan. 31st, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the cynic in me is on the same wavelength as the cynic in you. But pragmatically, the public are a lot further from wanting to financially compensate the stolen generations than they are from wanting an apology, and this is still a democracy of sorts - or at least a country in which important questions like that should be tested at a vote.

But the cynic in me is also concerned that financial compensation would be ineffective and complex to administer. But then, the cynic in me is fairly sure that we're going to waste more than a few $1bn increments of cash over the next couple of decades, so I don't see why they shouldn't be risked on worthier causes instead, even if they end up wasted there as well.
sonanova
Jan. 31st, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
I am really going to be watching this, as much as any American can.

Side note: I recived the book and will probably read it over the weekend:)
benpeek
Feb. 1st, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
hey, that's cool. i hope you dig it. i think i have an email round here still from you, but i've gotten real bad at that of late...
lucius_t
Feb. 1st, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
That's the guy who was eating his earwax in the youtube video. Rudd.
benpeek
Feb. 1st, 2008 04:25 am (UTC)
heh. i couldn't find it on the blog--maybe it was on one of those vids that'd been disabled.
lucius_t
Feb. 1st, 2008 04:35 am (UTC)


Some fun, huh?
benpeek
Feb. 1st, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
hahaha
lucius_t
Feb. 1st, 2008 04:42 am (UTC)
Now you know what Rudd wants for Xmas...that membership in the Earwax of the Month Club.
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