10th Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations and Indigenous Australia
On the 10th anniversary of the National Apology, we take time to reflect on progress that has been made since the National Apology was delivered by the Prime Minister in 2008.
The National Apology was a public acknowledgement of the pain and suffering caused by the Australian Government with the effort to build new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians with the aim of addressing social injustice. This had a profound effect on many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as it was the first public commitment to engaging and working together with Australia’s Indigenous communities.
The Apology was a step in the right direction and since then we have seen the Redfern Statement launched during the 2016 Federal Election, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and services came together to call for better resources and real reconciliation. It was an inspiring display of self-determination and strength for these organisations and services to demand for a say on how the Government’s decisions affect their lives.
“We still have work to do. The Government must ensure the social determinants of health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a priority.”
said Stephen Blunden, Acting CEO at the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council (AHMRC) of NSW.
In reviewing the Closing the Gap initiative, with only one of the seven national targets being on track, we need to do better. We must do better.
As the former Prime Minister mentioned in the National Apology:
“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.”
If we are to make any real and lasting change, we must accept our history, put aside our differences and come together and really listen to the needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
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Below is the Apology to the Stolen Generations.
Apology to the Stolen Generations
That 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.