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Apology: British Media Praises Rudd

The London newspaper, The Independent, has praised Kevin Rudd for the apology to the stolen generations.

This is the text of the editorial from The Independent.

The Independent

The Courage To Right A Historic Wrong

Politicians who match their words to their deeds are hardly ten a penny these days. And, even when they do appear on our horizon, their words and deeds are all too often designed to court cheap popularity. So it is heartening to find a recently-elected leader who is so quickly and determinedly putting his campaign pledges into practice, even those that may not have appealed to every voter. Step forward Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia. [Read more…]


Brendan Nelson Supports Stolen Generations Apology

The Leader of the Opposition, Brendan Nelson, has spoken in support of the motion offering an apology to the Stolen Generations.

  • Listen to Nelson’s Address (21m)
  • Watch Nelson’s Address:

Text of Brendan Nelson’s Address to Parliament on the Apology to the Stolen Generations.

Mr Speaker, members of this 42nd Parliament of Australia, visitors and all Australians.

In rising to speak in support of this motion, I recognise the Ngunnawal, first peoples of this Canberra land.

Today our nation crosses a threshold. [Read more…]


Kevin Rudd’s Speech On The Apology To The Stolen Generations

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has moved the motion of apology to the Stolen Generations, at a sitting of the House of Representatives at 9am today.

  • Listen to Rudd’s Address:
  • Watch Rudd’s Address (30m)
  • Watch the full broadcast (58m)

This is the text of Kevin Rudd’s Address on the motion of apology to the Stolen Generations.

I move 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. [Read more…]


Full Text Of Official Apology To Stolen Generations

This is the full text of the apology to the Stolen Generations to be presented to the Australian Parliament at 9am on Wednesday 13 February.

Text of the Apology to the Stolen Generations.

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.


Mabo Anniversary Amid Reconciliation Controversy

The eighth anniversary of the High Court’s judgement in the Mabo case occurs this Saturday and is the culmination of National Reconciliation Week activities throughout Australia.

FlagThe Mabo judgement overthrew the legal notion of “terra nullius”, the concept that the Australian continent was an empty land belonging to no-one which was acquired by the British in the eighteenth century.

The court ruled that a form of native title exists in the Australian common law that reflects the entitlement of the indigenous inhabitants of Australia, in accordance with their laws and customs, to their traditional lands.

The court also ruled that native title is extinguished by valid government acts that are inconsistent with the continued existence of native title rights and interests, such as the grant of freehold or leasehold estates.

The case led to the passage of the Native Title Act in 1993 and the establishment of the Native Title Tribunal to rule on Aboriginal land claims.

The act was amended in 1998 after a fierce debate following the High Court’s 1996 Wik judgement. This decision followed confusion over the competing claims of Aborigines and pastoral leaseholders. The court held that native title and pastoral leasehold rights could co-exist, but that leasehold rights prevail in the event of conflict.

The debate over native title has occurred in the context of ongoing discussion about the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal children, particularly since the release of the report of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Bringing Them Home.

Recent years have seen a growing social movement devoted to the issuing of a formal national apology to the Stolen Generations. There have also been calls for a formal treaty with the Aboriginal people.


Howard Government Submission On The Stolen Generations Report

This is the Howard government’s submission to the Senate Legal Constitutional References Committee “Inquiry into the Stolen Generation”.

The submission was presented by Senator John Herron, the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Affairs.

The first document below is the Executive Summary of the submission. The second document is the full submission. Both PDF files can be expanded and downloaded. [Read more…]