Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Apology: full text

Here is the text of the motion of apology to the Stolen Generations that Kevin Rudd will deliver at 9 am AEDT this morning as the first act of the new federal Australian parliament:

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.
H/T Jason, who has posted the full text of Kevin Rudd's speech (not just the actual motion).


Anonymous said...

What an incredibly liberating moment!

byron smith said...

Yeah, I was in the rain with a crowd at Redfern watching it on big screens and have just returned.

Megan said...

I would have loved to be in the city, but I watched it at home with my 2 little kids. My 3 year old thought saying sorry was a very good idea, after I explained what I was watching. I have been heartened to see my friends on facebook and in the blogosphere saying sorry today as well. I too am deeply sorry, and I have posted to say this on my blog.

Mister Tim said...

I watched it on the computer at work, but was at Parliament House for unrelated business soon afterwards. It was amazing. I've never seen the place so busy or with such a good vibe - such an amazing morning. (I also shared a cab back into town with Tony Jones from Lateline and chatted to him about the apology - that was cool too).

byron smith said...

Yes, it has been fascinating to see the reactions. I am very keen to see the result of comparison polls conducted last weekend and this coming weekend to see whether and how people's views on it might have changed over the week. Here is a report on the results of the first poll. Look out for the second one next Monday.

Anonymous said...

Byron (and others),

Just thought you might like to know that I've updated my post on the Australian Government's 'Apology', and included the full text of Kevin Rudd's speech:



PS. I notice that you've still got the old URL to my blog on your sidebar. Please feel free to update it to http://cruciality.wordpress.com

byron smith said...

Thanks Jason, sidebar link now updated. For those too lazy to cut and paste the address of your post, here it is.

Meredith said...

Yeah, the apology was huge. For the first time in my life i felt like the leader of this country spoke for me. An unqualified apology. wow.