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Melbourne Marches For Reconciliation

Hundreds of thousands of people marched for Reconciliation with Aborigines in Melbourne today.

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Commencing at 8am, marchers left Flinders Street station and walked down St. Kilda Road, past the Shrine of Remembrance and onto the Domain. The last marchers left around 11am.

The march was the Melbourne equivalent of the well-attended Sydney event earlier this year when similar numbers walked across the Harbour bridge.

Many Labor, Democrat and Green politicians were in attendance, as were a small number of Liberals, notably Federal Treasurer Peter Costello, Health Minister Michael Wooldridge and former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

A similar march was held in Perth, attended by Liberal Premier Richard Court. In both cities, the turnout suggests widespread support for reconciliation and a national apology to Aboriginal people.

Corroboree 2000


The Speech Howard Should Have Made

As media criticism of Prime Minister John Howard over his refusal to attend Sunday’s Reconciliation Week walk in Sydney gathered pace today, it is interesting to compare the speech he made on Saturday to Corroboree 2000 with the speech given by Sir William Deane.

DeaneThe Governor-General’s speech contrasts sharply with what the Sydney Morning Herald called the “mean spritedness” and the “deadly sameness” of the “narrow, destructive course” followed by Howard

In his speech, Deane said: “Looking back, the starting point must be an acknowledgment of facts and truths which are now too well established or obvious to be denied. The dispossession and oppression of the Aboriginal peoples of this country over most of the years of non-indigenous settlement constitute, as Justice Gaudron and I said in a case called Mabo, the darkest aspect of the history of our nation.”

Later, after listing some positive milestones for Aborigines, such as the High Court’s 1992 Mabo judgement, the Governor-General said: “Even more important than the specific milestones that I have mentioned has been the ever-increasing grass roots awareness of the importance of both national reconciliation and the battle to overcome entrenched Aboriginal disadvantage. In the years that I have been Governor-General, Helen and I have been privileged to be part of countless unforgettable instances of reconciliation at the personal level in all parts of Australia. They have done much to shape the three thoughts about reconciliation which I wish to share with you as we stand at this crossroads and look to the future.”


250,000 Walk For Reconciliation Week

A quarter of a million Australians today walked across Sydney Harbour bridge as part of the fifth annual National Reconciliaton Week.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Dubbed Corroboree 2000, the event saw three federal government ministers, Philip Ruddock, Senator John Herron and Joe Hockey, join the marchers.

Prime Minister John Howard did not attend. Earlier, a Cabinet decision banning other ministers from attending was leaked.

Treasurer Peter Costello declined to join the march after news of the ban leaked out. [Read more…]


Howard Heckled During Corroboree 2000 Speech

Prime Minister John Howard was jeered and heckled today as he addressed Corroboree 2000 at the Sydney Opera House.

His speech was barely audible at times as delegates interjected. Many turned their backs on him as he spoke and there were frequent cries of “shame”. Howard was again implored to say sorry to the stolen generations. [Read more…]


Governor-General Sir William Deane’s Address To Corroboree 2000

This is the text of the address to Corroboree 2000 by the Governor-General, Sir William Deane.

Governor-General Sir William Deane’s Address to Corroboree 2000.

DeaneAt the outset, I acknowledge the traditional custodians and thank them for the welcome they have given us all to their ancestral lands.

All of us who are pilgrims on the road to Aboriginal reconciliation have reached a crossroads. This is a time to pause and look back to the past, around at the present, and forward to the future. [Read more…]