Prime Minister Rudd Says "Sorry"...

Australian News.

BBC coverage.

Full text of Formal Apology.

Video of apology.

Some Aboriginal responses.

Today, for the first time in history, the Australian government (Rudd-Labor) has formally apologised for the mistreatment of Aboriginal people in the past, especially the Stolen Generation (something John Howard completely refused to do for a decade)! It's a very proud day to be an Australian.

Maybe people outside Australia won't really recognise it as such an important event, but it is seriously such an amazingly important symbolic act. The types of things that were done back in the age of the "paternal" attitude towards the "sub-human" Aborigines will shock you. If you want a quick overview of the subject watch Phillip Noyce's "Rabbit-Proof Fence". If by the end of it you don't feel like crying you're a heartless demon who deserves to die.

Some people (about 30% of the population; mostly snobbish rich-kids) say "Why should WE apologise for something our forefathers did? WE had nothing to do with it!" but I think that if you take that stance you are acknowleding a wrong but choosing to do nothing to try and fix it. Kind of like if you see a person getting raped and not doing anything to try and stop it. "It has nothing to do with ME!" You have to realise that in reaching true reconciliation we need to have both symbolic and practical solutions. Apologising was a vital step forward.

But anyway, that's just my opinion...

Ah well! I get to tell my kids that I lived through Sorry Day! HAHA.


amazonmidwife 18 February 2008 at 4:47 pm  

It is a big deal. I was born in '64, the year that the Civil Rights Act was passed here in the 'States. I don't think anybody at that time could envision an African-American Presidential candidate in their lifetime.

So with the apology, is there any mention of reparations?

The Evil Lemon 19 February 2008 at 12:56 am  

My Australian education really never touched on the American Civil Rights movement (or anything else American for that matter) but I kinda have a general idea due to all the popular culture references.

I think the government is shying away from personal compensation to individuals but pooling resources into bettering healthcare and education for indigenous peoples and that sort of thing. The gap between average lifespan of indigenous and non-indigenous people is SO bad; its like a 30-40 year difference or something.