we're all sorry (except Emma)
The Prime Minister's speech bought me to tears in places, in short an unconditional apology, no excuses, it was wrong and we want to make it right. Let's hope these good words turn into action to really "close the gap".
However, am mid the Leader of the Opposition's reply - he started well but veered off quickly into 'good intentions' excuse. Someone with greater time and energy, I'm sure, will do a proper analysis of his speach. Unlike the PM he's clearly stated that there will be no financial compensation.
Now Nelson is bringing up the cobbers going to war, aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australians lying (dead) beside each other on the battle fields. But stops the story there and doesn't go into how we 'rewarded' the aboriginal men who'd gone off and fought a war that wasn't theirs - by not giving the vote or equality and continuing to remove some of their children until the 1970's. He failed to mention the small issue of those aboriginal soldiers not getting the same pay.
Next he moves the speech to a defense of the Howard government's horrendous interventions last year.
The tears are dry now and am feeling angry. The PM's address to the Parliament made me feel good about being an Australian for the first time since I took citizenship over a decade ago. Nelson's response has reminded me to not stop the rage until change truly occurs.
(and now I must run off to work, very late!)
The wording of the official apology to the Stolen Generation is out and ready to roll tomorrow.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology motion has been tabled in Parliament:
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 fathers, the brothers and 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 Australian.
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 changed.
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.
It’s a damn good start.
However it seems not everyone seems to think so. On facebook some members are choosing to set their status as “is sorry” tomorrow. One young woman felt so strongly against it she posted this on the site:
PPL who will put Their status as "is sorry" tomorrow are all fucked in the head, we didnt do nething wrong. RUDD is just fucked in the eye. He should be speaking for all of us. Fuck saying sorry for somthing we had no control over it. So fuck saying sorry!!
That’s right people, Emma a fun loving Catholic gal from Melbourne believes we didn’t do nething (sic) wrong.
So perhaps we aren’t all sorry yet.