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The Past | The Previous


Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.



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Feb. 12th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
I can't quite believe Nelson used the word 'necessary' either.
Feb. 13th, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
there was a lot about the nelson speech i found unnecessary, myself.
Feb. 13th, 2008 06:44 am (UTC)
Is Brendan Nelson a complete and utter idiot? Or just sometimes an idiot?
Feb. 13th, 2008 06:46 am (UTC)
i think he's actually quite intelligent, but my take--and perhaps i'm wrong--is that he was trying to walk to line of keeping the party pleased, and knowing that if they didn't support it they'd look like retards.

trying to have your cake and eat it as well might sum up nelson's problem.

Edited at 2008-02-13 06:47 am (UTC)
Feb. 13th, 2008 06:56 am (UTC)
Intelligent enough to not even know the history of his country, though?

And that was the impression that was left as well - wanting to tow the party line, rather than doing the Right Thing.
Feb. 12th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC)
... and, whatever people may say of it, it is more than the previous government did, and more than the United Kingdom has said to Ireland.

Hats off to him for trying, so far... now he just needs to go about fixing the situation.
Feb. 13th, 2008 01:33 am (UTC)
yeah, it's a good day, man. long time coming.
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Feb. 12th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
There was a real electricity in the air down at Parliament, a big crowd full of happy and hopeful people of all nations. It was lovely - the truest patriotism I can recently recall. I felt a huge renewal of affection for the country.

Rudd's speech was straight to the point and well written. Much, much better than his election night speech for a point of comparison. The only deviation from its serious intent was to allude to past Labor governments / leaders / speeches and to briefly put a well-deserved boot into the Howard govt for its inactivity, and into Nelson for his comments on inter-generational responsibility: "1970 is not a point in remote antiquity".

It was a great moment when Rudd proposed the bipartisan indigenous policy commission as well - you could palpably feel the crypto-racist quibblers and sticklers in the Coalition ranks gnashing their teeth, and Nelson's expression was amazing.

I feel a great deal of hope that something good and lasting will come out of all of this.

(Pretty sure "sorry" was in the text circulating yesterday - three times IIRC.)
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Feb. 13th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
Yeah, wow.

Your phantom speech is an oddity.
Feb. 13th, 2008 06:43 am (UTC)
"1970 is not a point in remote antiquity."

That one got a bit of a chuckle from everyone who watched the speech with me today. It's a good line, but also (probably?) unintentionally funny (but in a good ha ha way).
Feb. 13th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
yeah, it's cool, i'll grant. i thought the only blemish on the thing was nelson's speech, where he had to walk the party line and the nation line. hard line, and he didn't do so crash hot.
Feb. 13th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
I'm so pleased.

Also, after posting, I read my f'list and the first 8 entries on it are ALL Australians remarking on the event. (I choose my online friends well.)
Feb. 13th, 2008 02:29 am (UTC)
yeah, a lot of mine had the same thing :)
Feb. 13th, 2008 09:18 am (UTC)
phew! this is such a huge and great thing! been a bit teary today, silly old me :D
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