Wednesday, February 13, 2008

sorry

Sorry seemed to be the hardest word for a long time but now, today:

"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."

These words and many more were spoken by the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, this morning in front of Parliament, stolen generation peoples, and all Australians, Indigenous and non-indigenous. Finally.

I watched and listened to the broadcast with colleagues. A lot of business now to get on with.

3 comments:

Indran Amirthanayagam said...

Jill, great to read these words. I write as you know from Vancouver, British Columbia where many First Nations people are seeking ways out of historic and contemporary misery, where dependency on support is a double-edged sword, where treaties are being negotiated at a glacial pace, where healing is taking place but on the margins of the day to day discourse.

Louise said...

hi jill, a post from me here to let you know that foam:e issue 5 is live (my guest edit) http://www.foame.org/index.html
some good reading there.

also some great news from Angela's light-trap press
http://www.light-trap.net/

i'm pretty excited about it too!

hope that you are well and not working too hard - but hey, hard work is what poets seem to do a lot of.

Jade said...

An excellent post, thank you for
bringing this "Sorry" to light,
illuminating what is going on
in Australia, how Parliment is
exhibiting some integrity with
this apology. To have a culture
of people ignored/brushed aside
[and in some cases worse] is
unforgivable. But it is a step
forward when government admits
a wrong, as many other countries
may now begin to do, following
Australia's example.