Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Saying Sorry

Yesterday it was announced first act of the new Australian parliament on 13th February will be to say "sorry" to the stolen generation.* Our previous government was willing to express regret, but refused to apologise for the sins of a previous generation, despite the recommendations of the 1997 Bringing Them Home report from the Human Rights & Equal Opportunities Commission.

This continues to be a divisive issue in Australia. I found this short paper of the Social Issues Briefing to be the most helpful short item I have read on the topic. It argues that the logic behind such an apology is deeply Christian. If you would like more information about the apology and what it will mean, Reconciliation Australia has published this FAQ document.

Rory suggests that the apology ought to be made by the Governor General as head of state, in order to lift it above party politics. Jason offers some more theological reflections upon forgiveness and saying sorry, as well as some relevant book reviews. GetUp has a campaign encouraging this action to be bipartisan and more than token.

Does anyone have other ideas on how to mark the significance of this step?
*(from Wikipedia): "The Stolen Generation (or Stolen Generations) is a term used to describe the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, usually of mixed descent who were removed from their families by Australian government agencies and church missions, under various state acts of parliament, denying the rights of parents and making all Aboriginal children wards of the state, between approximately 1869 and (officially) 1969."


Megs said...

Hi Byron~!
I interviewed Sir Ronald Wilson just after he'd been sacked and Howard had expressed regrets. He was hopeful then in the face of such adversity ... and hope is winning!



byron smith said...

Yeah, it's exciting to think change is afoot. As I said to Ben, I expect to be disappointed and frustrated by Kevin Rudd, but he's off to a good start with his first executive act (ratifying Kyoto) and first parliamentary act (apology).