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Thursday, 13 February 2014
Page: 394

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:00): I wish to note that today marks six years since the historic national apology given by then Prime Minister Rudd and supported by then opposition leader Brendan Nelson here in this parliament. It was a historic day in our national life. It was a day when ancient wrongs and ancient injustices were recognised and acknowledged. The marvellous thing about that day was that an apology was given and, as I read the mood of Indigenous Australia that day, the apology was accepted. I say to the Indigenous people of our country: your grace and forgiveness has been a mark of character.

In calling to mind and remembering the national apology, it is important to note that this is not the first fault-free generation in history and certainly this generation is not morally superior to its predecessors. I am confident that future generations will learn from our mistakes just as we have learned from the mistakes of our predecessors. Nevertheless, on this day it is important to acknowledge that historic day just six years ago, to place on record our appreciation of what Kevin Rudd and Brendan Nelson did that day and to resolve yet again to turn goodwill into real improvements in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.