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(generated from captions) We will bring

also the We will bring you that apology, and

also the words of also the words of Dr Brendan Nelson

following the Prime Minister too. following the Prime Minister too. So

Kevin Rudd entering the chamber now.

To applause. As

to the To applause. As he walks in. Going

to the speakers box. It looks to the speakers box. It looks as though his apology

soon. though his apology will be quite though his apology will be quite

though his apology will be quite soon. We're not

soon. We're not sure on the

timing. We're expecting the prayer soon. We're not sure on the exact first, which

first, which opens each day of

parliament, and then the Prime

Minister will speak immediately

after the prayer. Let's just listen

in to what's going

(silence)

Honourable members, the speaker.

Almighty God, we humbly veseech thee

to vouchsafe this blesing on the

parliament. Direct the advantment

and true welfare of the people of

Australia. Our father which art in

heaven, hallowed by thigh name,

one thigh kingdom come, thigh will be

one on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread and

forgive us our trespasses as

forgive us our trespasses as we

forgive those who trespass against

us. Deliver us from eveal for thine

is the kingdom, the power and the

glory, forever and ever, amen. is the kingdom, the power and the

The clerk. Government business notice No.

notice No.1, notion offering

aology to Australia's Indigenous notice No.1, notion offering an peoples. Prime Minister. the Indigenous peoples of this land, Today we honour in human history. the oldest continuing cultures their past mistreatment. We reflect on We reflect in particular who were Stolen Generations - on the mistreatment of those in our nation's history. this blemished chapter for the nation to turn a new page The time has now come in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past with confidence to the future. and so moving forward the laws and policies We apologise for and governments of successive Parliaments suffering and loss that have inflicted profound grief, on these our fellow Australians. We apologise especially and Torres Strait Islander children for the removal of Aboriginal their communities and their country. from their families, of these Stolen Generations, For the pain, suffering and hurt and for their families left behind, their descendants we say sorry. the brothers and sisters, To the mothers and fathers,

and communities, for the breaking up of families

we say sorry. and the degradation thus inflicted And for the indignity and a proud culture, on a proud people we say sorry. We, the Parliament of Australia, respectfully request

in the spirit in which it is offered that this apology be received of the nation. as part of the healing For the future, we take heart - the history of our great continent resolving that this new page in can now be written. by acknowledging the past We today take this first step that embraces all Australians. and laying claim to a future

this Parliament resolves that A future where must never, never happen again. the injustices of the past determination of all Australians, A future where we harness the Indigenous and non-Indigenous, that lies between us to close the gap educational achievement in life expectancy, and economic opportunity. the possibility of new solutions A future where we embrace to enduring problems where old approaches have changed. mutual resolve A future based on mutual respect, and mutual responsibility. whatever their origins, A future where all Australians,

with equal opportunities are truly equal partners in shaping the next chapter and with an equal stake this great country. in the history of Australia.

Mr Speaker. There comes a time in the history of nations the history the

the history of nations when their

peoples must become fully reconciled

to their past if they

to their past if they are to go

forward with confidence to embrace

their future. Our nation, Australia,

has reached such a time. And that is

why the parliament is today here

assembled. To deal with this unfinished business of the nation. To remove a To remove a great stain from the

nation's soul. And in a true spirit

of reconciliation, to open a

chapt chapter in the history of this of reconciliation, to open a new

last great land, Australia. Mr Speaker,

last year I made a commitment to the

Australian people that if we Australian people that if we formed

the next government of the

Commonwealth, we would

say sorry Commonwealth, we would in parliament

say sorry to the Stolen Generations. Mr

Mr Speaker, today I honour that

commitment. I said we

commitment. I said we would do so

early in the life of the new early in the life of the

parliament. Mr Speaker,

parliament. Mr Speaker, again, today

so I honour that commitment. By doing

so at the commencement of this, the

4 2nd parliament of the

come, well Commonwealth. Because the time has

come, well and truly come, for all

peoples of our great country, for

all citizens of our great

Commonwealth, for all Australians,

those who are Indigenous and those those who are Indigenous

who are not to

who are not to come together, to

reconcile, and together

future for reconcile, and together build a new

future for our nation. Some have

asked why apologise? Let me begin to answer answer by telling the parliament

just a little of one person's story.

An elegant, eloquent and wonderful

woman in her 80s, full of life and

funny stories despite what has

happened in her life's journey. A

woman who's travelled a long way to

be with us today. A member of be with us today. A member

of her story with Stolen Generations who stared some be with us today. A member of the

of her story with me when of her story with me when I called

around to

around to see her just a few days

ago. She was

ago. She was born in the late 19

20s. She remembers her

ago. She was born in the late 19 20s. She remembers her earliest

childhood days living in a bush camp

with her family

with her family outside Tenant

Creek. She remembers the love and

the warmth and kinship of those

days, including traditional dancing around the

around the fire at night. She loved

the dancing. She remembers getting

into strife as

into strife as a 4-year-old girl

when she intisted on dancing with

the male tribal elders, rather than

sitting and watching as the girls

were supposed to do. But then

sometime around 1932 when she was

about 4, she remembers the coming about 4, she remembers the coming of

the welfare men. Her family had

the welfare men. Her family had feared that day and dug holes in feared that day and dug holes in the

creek bank where the creek bank where the children creek bank where the children could

run and hide. They hadn't expected that the

that the white welfare men wouldn't

come alone. They brought a truck,

two white men and an Aboriginal stockman on horseback. The

stockman on horseback. The kids were

found. They ran for their mothers,

screaming, but they couldn't get

away. They were herded and

away. They were herded and piled on

to the back of a truck. Tears

flowing, her mum tried clinging to

the side of the truck the side of the truck as her

children were taken away

children were taken away to Alice children were taken away to Alice - all children were taken away to Alice -

all in the name of protection. A

all in the name of protection. A few years later, the children would be

handed over to the missions to be

cared for by

cared for by the churches. But which

church? The

church? The kids were told to line up in

up in three lines. She and her

sisters were in the middle line, her

brother and cousin on the left.

Those on the left were told

Those on the left were told they'd

become Catholics - those in the

middle, methodists - and those on the right, Church of

the right, Church of England. That's how

how the complex questions of

post-reformation theology were

post-reformation theology were revolveed in the outback in the 19

30s. It was as crude as 30s. It was as crude as that. 30s. It was as crude as that. She

and her sister were sent to a

mission. Her Catholic mission. Her Catholic brother sent mission. Her Catholic brother was sent to a cattle

sent to a cattle station. Her family

had been broken up for a second

time. She stayed at the mission

until after the war when she was allowed to leave for allowed to leave for a job as

allowed to leave for a job as a domesticic

domesticic in Darwin. She was 16. -- domestic. She

domestic. She never saw domestic. She never saw her mum

again. After she left the mission,

her brother let her know her

her brother let her know her mum had died years before,

died years before, a broken died years before, a broken woman

fret frg the children that had

literally been ripped away from her. I

I asked her what she'd have me say

today about her story. She thought for a

for a few memts then said what I

should say today was that all

mothers are important. And

added, "

added, mothers are important. And she

added, "Families, keeping added, "Families, keeping them

together is very important. It's a

good thing

good thing that you are surrounded

by love and that love is passed down

the generations. That's what gives you happiness." As

you happiness." As I left later on,

she took one of my staff aside, wanting she took one of my staff aside,

wanting to make sure that I

wanting to make sure that I wasn't too hard on the Aboriginal stockman

who'd hunted the kids down. The

stockman had found her again decades

later, this time himself to say

sorry. And remarkably,

sorry. And remarkably, extraordinarily, she had forgiven

him. Hers is just one story. There

are thousands. Tens of are thousands. Tens of thousands.

Stories of forced

Stories of forced separation of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait

islander children from thir mums

dads over the better part of islander children from thir mums and dads over the better part of a

century. Some of them are

graphically told in Bringing Them

Home, the report commissioned in

1995 and received in 1997 by John

Howard. There is something terribly

primal about these

primal about these first-hand

accounts. The pain is searing. It

screams from the pages. The hurt, the

the humiliation, the degradation

the humiliation, the degradation and

sheer brutealty of the act sheer brutealty of the act of

physically separating a mother from

her children is

her children is a deep assault on

our senses and on our most elemental

humanity. These humanity. These stories cry out to

be heard. They cry out for an humanity. These stories cry out to

apology. Instead, from the nation's

parliament, there has been a stony

and stubborn and deafening

and stubborn and deafening silence for more than a decade. A view

somehow we, the parliament, for more than a decade. A view that somehow we, the parliament, should

suspend our most

suspend our most basic instincts of

what is

what is right what is right and

what is right and wrong, that we should look for

should look for any pretext to push

this great wrong to one side, to

leave it languishing with the

historians, academics and historians, academics and cultural

warriors as if the Stolen

Generations are little more than an

interesting phenomenon. But they're

not intell ecial curiosities. They are

are human beings who've been damaged

deeply. As of today, the time for denial, the

denial, the time for delay, has at last come to

last come to an end. Mr

last come to an end. Mr Speaker, the nation is

nation is demanding of its political

leadership to take us forward.

Decency, human decency, universal

human decency, demands that the nation now

nation now steps forward to write an

historical wrong, and that's what

we're doing in this we're doing in this place today. we're doing in this place today. But should

should there still be doubts, let

the parliament reflect for a

the parliament reflect for a moment on the following facts. Between 1910

and 1970, between 10 and 30% of

Indigenous children were forcibly

taken from their parents. As a

result, up to 50,

result, up to 50,000 result, up to 50,000 children were

taken from their taken from their families. That

taken from their families. That this

was the product of deliberate,

was the product of deliberate, calculateed policies of the state as

reflected in the powers

reflected in the powers given to

them under statute. That this policy

was taken to such extremes that was taken to such extremes that the forced

forced extractions of children of

so-called mixed lineage so-called mixed lineage was seen as

a broader policy of dealing with " a broader policy of dealing with

"the problem of the Aboriginal

population." One of the most

notorious examples of this was from the

the NT protector of

the NT protector of natives, who

stated, "Generally by

stated, "Generally by the sixth

generation, the problem of the

Aboriginal is eradicated. Aboriginal is eradicated. The

problem of the

problem of the half-castes will

quickly be resolved by the removal on the Aboriginal."

on the Aboriginal." These Views were

expounded at a national convns on

Indigenous affairs. These are

uncomfortable things to be brought

out into the light. They are not

pleasant. They are profoundly disturbing. But

disturbing. But we must acknowledge

these facts

these facts if we are to deal once

and for all with the argument that

the policy of generic, forced separation separation was somehow

well-motivated, justified by its

historical concept and as a result,

unworthy of any apology today.

unworthy of any apology today. Then

we come to the argment we come to the argment of

we come to the argment of intergenerational responsibility,

used by some to used by some to argue against

today's apology. Let us remember the

fact that the forced removal of the children

children happened as late as the 1970s. It's not exactly 1970s. It's not exactly a

1970s. It's not exactly a point in

remote an tickwity. There are still

serving members of this parliament

elected to the place then. It is

well within the well within the adult memory span of

many of us. The uncomfortable truth

for us all is that the parliaments

of the nation enacted statutes and

delegated authority under them that

made the forced removal of children

on racial grounds fully lawful.

There is a further reason.

Reconcilisation is an expression of a core

a core value of ourination, and that

value is a fair go for all. There is

a deep and abiding belief in our

community that for

community that for the Stolen

Generations, there was no fair go

Generations, there was no fair go at all. There is a pretty basic Aussie

belief that says it's time to put right

right this most outrageous of wrongs right this most outrageous of wrongss. It's wrongss. It's for wrongss. It's for these reasons wrongss. It's for these reasons that

the governments and parliaments of

this nation bust make this apology.

this nation bust make this apology. Put simply, the laws that our

parliaments enacted made the Stolen

Generationss possible. We, the parliaments

parliaments of the nation, are

ultimately responsible. Not those

who gave effect to the laws. The

problem lay with the laws

themselves. As themselves. As have been themselves. As have been said of settler

settler societies elsewhere, we are

the bearers of many blessings from our ancestors

our ancestors and therefore must

also bear their burdens as well.

Thafr, for Thafr, for our nation,

Thafr, for our nation, the course of

action is clear. Therefore, for our

people, the course of action

clear. And that people, the course of action is

clear. And that is to deal now with

what has become one of the darkest

chapters in doing chapters in Australia's history. In

doing so, we are doing more than

contending with the facts, the

evidence and the often rancorous

public debate. In doing so,

public debate. In doing so, we're

also wrestling with our own soul.

This is not, as some would argue, a

black armband view of history. It's

just the truth - the cold,

Facing with it, confronting, uncomfortable truth.

Facing with it, dealing with it,

moving on from it. And until we

will fully confront that truth, there

will always be a shadow hanging over

us as a future

us as a future with a fully united

and reconciled people. It's time to and reconciled people. It's

reconcile and recognise the injustices

injustices of the past. It's time to

together. say sorry. It's time to move forward

together. To the Stolen

Generationss, I say the following. As Prime Minister

As Prime Minister of Australia, I As Prime Minister of Australia, I am

sorry. On behalf of the government

of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf

of the parliament of Australia,

of the parliament of Australia, I am sorry.

sorry. And I offer you this sorry. And I offer you this apology without qualification. without qualification. We

without qualification. We apologise for the hurt, the

for the hurt, the pain and suffering

the laws we the parliament have caused you by

the laws that

the laws that previous parliaments

have enacted. We appall

have enacted. We apologise for the

inhumiliation indignity, the degradation

inhumiliation these laws embodied.

We offer this apology to the

sisters, brothers, mothers and

families and communities whose lives

were ripped apart by were ripped apart by the actions of

successive governments under

successive parliaments. In making

this apology, I would also like to speak personally to the speak personally to the members of

families. Those the Stolen Generations and their

families. Those here today, so many families. Those here today,

of you, to

of you, to those listening across

the nation, from the central west of

the northern terory to North

Queensland and to Pitjantatjara Queensland and to Pitjantatjara in

South Australia. I know that in

offering this apology on behalf of

the government and the parliament,

there is nothing I can say today

that can take away the pain you have

suffered personally. Whatever words I speak

I speak today, I cannot undo that.

Words alone are

Words alone are not that powerful.

say Grief is a very personal thing. I

say to

say to non-Indigenous Australians

listening today, those who may not

fully understand why we are doing

imagine for a moment what we are doing, I ask them to

imagine for a moment if this had

happened to you. I

happened to you. I say to honourable

members here present, imagine if

this had happened to us. this had happened to us. Imagine the crippling effect.

crippling effect. Imagine how hard

it would be to forgive. But my

proposal is this. If the apology we

extend today is accepted in the

it spirit of reconcilisation in which

it is offered, we can today resolve

together that there be a new

beginning for Australia. And it is to such a new to such a new beginning that I

believe the nation

us. believe the nation is now calling

us. Australians are

lot. We're us. Australians are a passionate

lot. We're also a

lot. We're also a very practical

lot. For us, symbolism is important,

but unless the great symbolism of

reconciliation is accomp naed by sun

substance, it's lidal more than a clanging clanging gong.

clanging gong. It's not sentiment,

it's actions that make history.

Today's apology, however inadequate,

is aimed at righting is aimed at righting past wrongs,

building a bridge between Indigenous

and non-Indigenous Australians based

on a real respect rather than in

thely veiled contempt. Our for the future thely veiled contempt. Our challenge for

for the future is now for the future is now to for the future is now to cross that bridge for the future is now to cross that

bridge and in so

bridge and in so doing, embrace a

new partnership between Indigenous

and non-Indigenous Australians,

embracing expanded link-up and other

critical services to help the Stolen

Generationss trace their families, Generationss trace

and provide dignity to their lives.

the But the core of this partnership for

the future is closing the gap between Indigenous and

non-Indigenous

non-Indigenous Australians on life

expectancy,

expectancy, educational achievement

and employment opportunities. This

new partnership on closing the gap

will set concrete targets for the

future. Within a decade, to halve

the gap in literacy, numeracy and

opportunities for Indigenous

children, to halve the appalling gap

in infant mortality rates, and children, to halve the appalling gap

within a generation, to close to

equally appalling

equally appalling 17-year life gap

between Indigenous and

non-Indigenous when it comes to

overall life expectancy. The truth

is, a business-as-usual

is, a business-as-usual approach towards Indigenous Australians is

not working. Most old approaches are

beginning. not working. We need a new

beginning. A new beginning which

contains real measures of policy

success or policy failure, a new success or policy failure, a new

beginning and partnership on closing

the gap with sufficient fexability

not to ininsist on a one size fits

all approach, but instead allows flexible, tailored, local flexible,

to flexible, tailored, local approaches

to achieve commonly agreed

objectives that lie at

the objectives that lie at the core of

the proposed partnership. the proposed

the proposed partnership. And a new the proposed partnership. And

on beginning that draws intelligently

on the experiences of new policy

settings across the nation. settings across the nation. Houfr

settings across the nation. However,

unless we as a parliament set a

destination for the nation, we have

no clear point to guide our policy, our

our programs or our purpose. No

central organiseal principle. central organiseal principle. So let

us resolve today to begin with the us resolve today to begin with the little

little children, a

little children, a fitting place to

start. Let us start. Let us resolve over the next start. Let us resolve over the

five years to have evy Indigenous

4-year-old in a remote Aboriginal 4-year-old in a remote Aboriginal community enrolled

community enrolled and attending a community enrolled and attending

proper early childhood centre proper early childhood centre and

engaged in proper pre-literacy and engaged in proper pre-literacy and numeracy

build numeracyproblems. Let us resolve to

build new educational opportunities

for these little ones year by year,

step-by-step. Let us resolve to step-by-step. Let us resolve to use

this systematic approach

this systematic approach to building

future educational taoupts for Indigenous Indigenous children for

Indigenous children for proper

primary health care, to begin to task of

task of rolling back the obscenity

we find today in infant mortality

rates - four times

rates - four times higher than in

other communities. None of this other communities. None of this will

be easy. Most of

be easy. Most of it will be hard.

Very hard. But none of it - none of

it - is impossible. And all of it - is impossible. And all of it it - is impossible. And all of it is

achievable with clear goals, clear

thinking, and by placing an premium on thinking, and by placing an absolute

premium on respect, cooperation and

mutual responsibility as the guiding

principles on this new partnership

of closing the gap. The mood of the

nation is for reconciliation now between nation is for reconciliation now

between Indigenous and between Indigenous

non-Indigenous Australians. The mood

of innation is now very simple. The non-Indigenous Australians. The mood

nation is calling on us, the

politicians, to move beyond our

infantile bickering, our

point-scoring and our maoupdlessly partisan politics

partisan politics and elevate this

one, at least this one core area of

national responsibility, to a rare

position beyond the partisan divide. Surely

Surely this is the unfulfiled spirit

of the 1967

of the 1967 referendum. Surely at

least from this day forward, we

should give it a go. Let me take

this a step further. To take this a step further. To take what

some way she as political posturing and make

and make a practical proposal to the

opposition. On this the first full sitting day of the sitting day of the new parliament, I

said before the election the nation needed

needed a kind of war cabinet

needed a kind of war cabinet on parts of Indigenous policies because

the parts of Indigenous policies because

the challenges and consequences the challenges and consequences are

too great for it to

too great for it to become a

political football. I propose a

joint policy commission to be joint policy commission to be lead

by the leader of the opposition and

myself, and with a mandate to

develop and emplment an effective housing

housing strategy over the next five

years for remote communities,

consistent with the policy

framework. If this commission operates well, I'll

operates well, I'll then propose operates well, I'll then propose it

work on the

work on the further task of

constitutional recognition of the

first Australians, consistent with

the longstanding flatfirm

commitments of my

commitments of my party. This would probably be probably be desirable in

probably be desirable in any event because,

because, unless such a proposition

was absolutely bipartisan, it would fail

fail at a referendum. As I said, the

time has come for new approaches and

working constructively together on

such defined projects such defined projects I believe

would meet with the support of nation. It's would meet with the support of the

nation. It's time for fresh ideas to

fashion the nation's future. Mr

Speaker, today Speaker, today the Speaker, today the parliament has come together to

come together to write a great

wrong. We have come wrong. We have come together to deal

with the past, so that we might

fully embrace the

fully embrace the future. And we

have had

have had sufficient audacity of faith

faith to advance a pathway to that

future with arms extended, rather

than with fists still clenched. So

let us seize the day. let us seize the day. Let let us seize the day. Let it not become a moment of let us seize the day. Let it not become a moment of mere sentimental

reflection. Let us take it with

hands and allow this reflection. Let us take it with both

hands and allow this day of national

reconciliation to become one

reconciliation to become one of

those rare moments in which we might

just be

just be able to transform the just be able to transform the way in

which the nation thinks about

itself. Whereby the injustice

administered to these Stolen Generationss in Generationss in the name of these, our parliaments, our parliaments, kouzs all of our parliaments, kouzs all of us our parliaments, kouzs all of us to

reappraise at the deepest level of

our beliefs the real possibility of

reconciliation writ large. Recal

silliation across all Indigenous

Australia. Reconciliation across the

entire history of

entire history of the often bloody

encounter between those who edurnled

from the Deemtime 1,

from the Deemtime 1,000 generations

from the Deemtime 1,000 generations ago and those who came across the

seas only yesterday. -- Dreamtime. Reconcil seas only yesterday. -- Dreamtime.

Reconciliation which opens up whole

new possibilities for the future. For the nation to

For the nation to bring the first

two centuries of our history to

close, in which we two centuries of our history to a close, in which we begin close, in which we begin a new

chapter and embrace with pride, admiration and

admiration and awe these great admiration and awe these great and

ancient cultures we're truly blessed

to have among us, that provide a

unique, uninterrupted human thread

linking our auts to the most linking our auts to the most ancient

pre-history of the planet, and to

see our Indigenous brothers and

sisters with fresh eyes and with our

minds wide open as to how we might

tackle, together, tackle, together, the great

practical challenges that Indigenous

Australia faces in the future. So let

let us turn this page together.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous

Australians, government and Opposition,

Opposition, Commonwealth and State,

and write this new chapter in our

nation's story together. First Australians,

Australians, first Fleeters, Australians, first Fleeters, and

those Australians, first Fleeters, and those who first

those who first took the oath of

allegiance a few weeks ago, let's

grasp this opportunity to create a

new future for this great land,

Australia. Mr Speaker,

Australia. Mr Speaker, I commend the

motion to the house. (all: Hear,

hear) APPLAUSE

(sustained applause)

(applause continues)

The question is that the motion be

agreed to. The leader of

agreed to. The leader of the Opposition.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. There

speaker, members of this, the 4

speaker, members of this, the 4 2nd parliament of Australia, visitors and

and all Australians, in rising to

speak strongly

speak strongly in support of this

motion, I recognise the Ngannawal,

first peoples of this Canberra land. Today, our nation Today, our nation crosses Today, our nation crosses a

threshhold. We formally offer an

apology. We say sorry. To those Aboriginal people Aboriginal people forcibly Aboriginal people forcibly removed

Aboriginal people forcibly removed from their families through the

first seven decades of the 20th century. In doing so,

century. In doing so, we reach from within

within ourselves to our past. Those

whose lives connect us to it,

whose lives connect us to it, and in

deep understanding

deep understanding of its importance

to our future. We will be at our

best today, and every day, if we

pause to place ourselves in the shoes of others.

shoes of others. Imbued with the

imaginative capacity to see this issue through their eyes

issue through their eyes with

decency and respect. This chapter in

our nation's history is emblematic of much of the

of much of the relationship between

Indigenous and non-Indigenous

Australians from the

Australians from the arrival of the

First Fleet in 1788. It First Fleet in 1788. It is one First Fleet in 1788. It is one of two cultures.

two cultures. One ancient, proud,

and celebrating its deep bond with

this land for some 60,

this land for some 60,000 years, the other no less

other no less proud arriving here

with little more than visionary

hope, deeply rooted in gritty

determination to build an determination to build an Australian determination to build an Australian

nation not only for its nation not only for its early settlers

settlers and Indigenous peoples, but

those who would increasingly

from all parts of the world. Whether those who would increasingly come

Australian by birth or immigration,

each one of us, each one of

each one of us, each one of us as

Australians, has a duty to

understand and respect what has been

done in our name. In most cases, we do with

do with great pride, but in others,

it is with shame. In brutally harsh

conditions from the small number of

early British settlers, our

non-Indigenous settlers

non-Indigenous settlers have given us a nation the us a nation the envy of any in the

world. But Aboriginal Australians

made involuntary sacrifices -

different, but no less different, but no less important, different, but no less important, to

make Australia the economic and

social development that we see in our country today.

our country Today. Nup of this was

easy. We cannot from the comfort of

the 21st century begin to imagine

what they overcame. Indigenous and

non-Indigenous. To give us what

non-Indigenous. To give us what we

have and make us

have and make us who we are. have and make us who we are. We do

know, though,

know, though, that language, disease, ignorance, know, though, that language,

disease, ignorance, good intentions,

basic human prejudices and a

cultural and technological chasm

combine to deliver a

combine to deliver a harshness exceeded

exceeded only by the hand over

each exceeded only by the hand over which

each sought to prevail. And as

each sought to prevail. And as our

young nation celebrated its

Federation, formality arranged in --

emerged in amangement and laws that

would govern Aboriginal people. The

new nation's constitution would new nation's constitution would not

allow for the counting of natives

for the allow for the counting of natives or

for the Commonwealth to pass laws in

relation to Aborigines. relation to Aborigines. Profection

boards were established. In some

jurisdictions, Aboriginals were

excluded for schools. Violent

episodes occurred. Churches heeded

their Christian doctrine to reach

out to people whom they saw as being

in desperate need. Though disputed

in motive and detail, in motive and detail, and with

varying recollections of

varying recollections of events by

others, the removal of Aboriginal

children began. In some places,

government policies evolved from the

belief that the race would not

survive and should be assimilated.

In other, the conviction

In other, the conviction was that

In other, the conviction was that half-caste children should be

removed to government and church-run

institutions. Others were placed with white

with white families whose kindness motivated them motivated them to the belief that

rescued children deserved a

rescued children deserved a better life. Our responsibility, every one of life. Our responsibility, every one

of us, is to understand what

happened here. Why it happened. of us, is to understand what happened here. Why it happened. The impact that happened here. Why it happened. The

impact that it had not only on those

who were removed, but also those who

did the removing and those who

supported it. Our generation does

not own these actions. Nor should it

feel guilt for what was

feel guilt for what was done in many, but certainly not all cases,

with the best of intentions. But in saying

saying we are sorry, saying we are sorry, and deeply so,

we remind ourselves that each

generation lives in ignorance of generation lives in ignorance of the

long-term consequences of long-term consequences of its

decisions and its actions. Even when

motivated by inherent humanity and

decency to reach out to the

dispuswrezed, our actions can have

dispuswrezed, our actions can have unintended consequences. As such, many decent

many decent Australians are hurt by

accusations of theft in relation to

their good intentions. their good intentions. The their good intentions. The stories

are well documented, and I thank

are well documented, and I thank the Prime Minister for reminding us of

one experience. I will repeat two.

The first was a submission given to

the human rights inquiry the human rights inquiry into

the human rights inquiry into this, and I quote, "I was at the post

office with my mum and office with my mum and auntie office with my mum and auntie and

cousin. They put us in the policeute

and said they were taking us and said they were taking us to

Broome. They put the mums in there

as well, but when we'd

as well, but when we'd been fwon 10

miles, they stopped and through miles, they stopped and through the

mothers out of the car. We jumped on

our mothers' backs, crying, but our mothers' backs, crying, but the

policemen pulled

policemen pulled us off. They pushed

the mothers away and drove off.

While our mothers were chasing

While our mothers were chasing the car, running and

car, running and crying after us, we

were screaming in the back of that

car. They put me and my cousin in

the Broome lock-up. We were only 10

the Broome lock-up. We were only 10 years old. We were in the lock-up for

for two days waiting for the for two days waiting for the boat

Perth." In The Wailing, for two days waiting for the boat to Perth." In The Wailing, Stewart

Rintoul recalls the pain of an Aboriginal woman. "

Aboriginal woman. "Something else

that never left my mind, my memory,

was of a family of children being

taken away and this little girl -

she must have been about the same

age as myself. I suppose she might have

have been about 6. But I can still

see that little person on the back

of the mission truck with a little

rag hat on, and she went away and we

never seen her any more. She was

crying. Everyone was crying. Things

like that like that never leave

like that never leave your memory. like that never leave your

like that never leave your memory." It's reasonably argued that removal

from squalor led to better from squalor led to better lives - children fed, housed and educated

for an adult world they could not

have imagined. However, have imagined. However, from my

have imagined. However, from my life

as a family

as a family doctor and knowing the

impact of my own father's from his impact of my own father's removal

from his unmarried teenage mother,

not knowing who you are is the

source of deep, scarring sorrows, the real

the real meaning of which can known the real meaning of which can be

known only to those who have endured

it. No-one should bring a sense of

moral superiority to this debate in

seeking the view that good was

sought to be

sought to be done. This is a complex

issue. Fay's life is one of the many

voices of aural history

voices of aural history at the

voices of aural history at the Nation Library o Australia. Nation Library o Australia. She left

her father at 8. "Personally, I

don't want people to say they're

sorry. I just want them to

understand. It was very hurtful to

leave dad. Oh, it understand. It was very hurtful to leave dad. Oh, it broke my heart.

Dad said to me,

Dad said to me, "It's hard for tady

and the authorities won't let stay with and the authorities won't let you

stay with me on a tent enthe

riverbank. You're a little girl and need someone

need someone to look after you." I

remember him telling us that remember him telling us that and I

cried and I said, "No, but Dad, you

look after us." But

look after us." But they kept telling telling us it

telling us it wasn't the right

thing. I don't want

thing. I don't want people to say

sorry, I just want them to

understand the hurt, what happened

when we were initially separated,

and just understand the and just understand the society,

that and just understand the society,

that what they have done

that what they have done - you don't

belong in either world. I

belong in either world. I can't

explain it. It hurts so much." There

is no compensation fund for this,

nor should there be. How can any sum

of money replace a life deprived of money replace a life deprived of

knowing your family? Separation knowing your family? Separation was

then and remains today a painful but

necessary part of public

necessary part of public policy enthe protection of children. Our

restitution for this lies in our

determination to address today's

determination to address today's injustices, learning from what was done and doing everything done and doing everything we can done and doing everything we can to heal those

heal those who suffered. The period

within which these events occurred was one that

was one that defined and shaped

Australia. The governments that

oversaw this and those who elected

them emerged from federating the

nation to a century characteriseed

for Australia as criumf in

for Australia as criumf in the face

of extraordinary adversities unknown to

to our generation. In offering this

apology, let us not in our apology, let us not in our language and our

and our actions create one injustice in our

in our attempt to address another.

Let no-one forget that they sent their

their sons to war, shaping our identity identity and

identity and place in the world. 100, identity and place in the world.

100,000 in two wars 100,000 in two wars alone gave

100,000 in two wars alone gave their lives in our name and our uniform, lying

lying forever in distant lying forever in distant lands,

silent witnesses to the silent witnesses to the future they silent witnesses to the future that

they have given us. Aboriginal and

non-Aboriginal Australians lie

alongside one another. These

generations considered their

responsibilities to their country and one another

and one another more important than

their rights. They didn't buy

something till they'd saved up for

it, and values were far it, and values were far more

important than value. Living in it, and values were far more

considerably more difficult times,

they had dreams for our nation, but little money. little money. Theirs

little money. Theirs was a mesh of

values enshrined in God, King and

country, and the belief in something

greater than them

greater than themselves. Neglectful

indifference to all they've achieved, while

achieved, while seeing the values of

the separation only will be to

diminish ourselves. Today, our

nation pauses to reflect on this

chapter of relations between

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australia. In

Australia. In doing so, however,

given that there are so many

Australians who perhaps usually

today are focused on Aboriginal issues, issues, spare a thought for the

real, immediate, seemingly

instructor tractable and instructor tractable and disgraceful

circumstances in which many

Indigenous Australians find themselves

themselves today. As we meet themselves today. As we meet and

speak here, Aboriginal Australians continue

continue to die long before the rest

of us. Alcohol, welfare without responsibilities, responsibilities, isolation responsibilities, isolation of the

economic mainstream, corrupt

economic mainstream, corrupt management of resources, nepotism,

lack of home-ownership,

underpolicing, and tolerance underpolicing, and tolerance by

authorities of neglect and abuse of children

children that violates all for which

we stand all combine to see too many Aboriginal

Aboriginal and Torres Strait

islander people living lives of

islander people living lives of existential aimlessness. Indigenous life

life expectancy is

life expectancy is still 17 years life expectancy is still 17 years less life expectancy is still 17 years

less than non-Indigenous

Australians. An Aboriginal baby has a one in

a one in three chance of seeing the

age of 65. Diabetes,

age of 65. Diabetes, kidney disease, hospitalisation of

hospitalisation of women from

assault, imprisonment, overcrowding

assault, imprisonment, overcrowding in housing, educational

underperformance remain appallingly

high, despite some feigns

high, despite some feigns in the

past decade. Annual

Indigenous-specific spending by the Commonwealth is $ Commonwealth is $3.

Commonwealth is $3.5 billion

Commonwealth is $3.5 billion a year, plus half

plus half a billion this year on plus half a billion this year on the

NT intervention. The sexual abuse of

Aboriginal children was found in every

every one of the 45NT communities

surveyed. It was the straw that

broke the camel's back, driving

broke the camel's back, driving the Howard government's decision to

intervene with dramatic and intervene with dramatic and radical

initiatives. I can't imagine the

strength upon which she drew, but

the Alice Springs Crown prosecutor,

with great

with great courage, revealed to the

nation in 2006 the case of

nation in 2006 the case of a 4-year-old girl drowned while being

raped by a teenager who had been

sniffing petrol. She told us of the

two children, one a baby, sexually assaulted by two

assaulted by two men

assaulted by two men while their mothers were drinking alcohol.

Another baby was stabbed by a man

trying to kill her mother. So too a

10-year-old girl was gangraped, the

offenders going free, barely

punished. A boy was raped in another

community by other children. Is this

not an emergency? The most

disturbing part of it is its disturbing part of it is its endemic

disturbing part of it is its endemic nature and Australia's apparent

desensitisation to it. Yet

governments responsible for

delivering services and security

have resisted elements of an

intervention. I ask the Prime

Minister to report to this public

regularly on what his government is

doing to save this generation of

Aboriginal Australians from these

appalling conditions. I also appalling conditions. I also offer,

on behalf of the Opposition, by

unconditional support to

unconditional support to participate in the commission for policy which

he proposes. This is far, far more important

important than any of

important than any of the things

that would

that would normally divide us as a

nation in philosophy

nation in philosophy and politics.

Our generation has, over 35 years,

overseen a system of welfare,

alcohol delivery, administration of overseen a system of welfare,

programs, episodic preoccupation with symbolism, with symbolism, and at times

of excusing the inexcusable in the name

of cultural sensitivity to create

what we now see in remote Aboriginal

Australia. With good intentions we

have p under have p under successive governments, have p under successive

created lives in many cases of

misery, for which we might

apologise. I certainly do. The best

act now. way we can show it is to act and to

act now. I challenge anyone who

thinks Aboriginal people get a good

deal to come to

communities deal to come to any of these

communities and tell me you wish you

had been born there. The had been born there. The first

Aboriginal Australian who came to this

this parliament was Neville Bonner,

a man abandoned by his

non-Aboriginal father before his

birth. He was born into a life of

hardship known only to some here

today as visitors. He grew

today as visitors. He grew up in a hollow today as visitors. He grew up in a

hollow carved by his

hollow carved by his grandfather

under bushes. The year before his mother's death,

mother's death, when he was 9, she

sent imhad to a school in Lismore.

He lasted two days before being

forcibly excluded. It was to his

gragtmother he attributed his final

success, arguing at 14 that he must

go to school when she said, "If you learn go to school when she said, "If

learn to read and

learn to read and write, express

yourself well and treat

yourself well and treat people with

you a long way." decency and courtesy, it will take

you a long way." And it did. Through

a life as a scrub clearer, a ringer,

a carpenter, it brought him to this

parliament in 1971 as the events parliament in 1971 as the events of

this motion were nearing an end. He said in

said in prophetic words to the lib said in prophetic words to the

Liberal Party members who selected him, "In my

him, "In my experience of him, "In my experience of this

world, two qualities are always in

greater need. Human understanding

and compassion." When asked in 1992

to reflect on his life, Neville

obzrved the unjust hardships he had endureed "

endureed "Can only be changed when

people of non-Aboriginal extraction

are prepared to

are prepared to listen, to hear what

Aboriginal people are saying and

then work with us to achieve those

ends." Asked to nominate his

greatest achievement, he replied,

"It is that I was there. They no

They longer spoke of boongs or blacks.

They spoke instead of Aboriginal

people." Today is about being there

as a nation and as individual

Australians. It is about Neville

Bonner's understanding

Bonner's understanding of one

another and the compassion that

shaped his life in shaped his life in literally

reaching out to those whom he considered had suffered

him. considered had suffered more than

him. We loner those

him. We loner those in our past who

have suffered, many of whom are here

today, and all who have

today, and all who have made

sacrifices for us by the way we live

our lives and shape our nation.

Today, we recommit to do so as one

people. We are sorry. APPLAUSE

Opposition Leader Dr Brendan Nelson

replying to the Prime Minister's appallanying to the Stolen

edition Generations. This is a special edition of

edition of Sunrise. More in a moment.

Um, I think I'll try a Whopper, thanks.

When you order a Whopper at Hungry Jack's, you don't just get a burger. just like you. People who appreciate the flame-grilled flavour and unique combination of fresh ingredients taste so much better. that go to make all our burgers It takes two hands to understand at Hungry Jack's.

For the pain,

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 degerateation thus

inflicted on a proud people and a

proud culture, we say sorry. our political editor Mark Riley Let's get all the reaction from and, of course, Mel in Canberra.

Both leaders really rose to the

occasion today. You can almost feel

a sense of history.

reaction a sense of history. What was the reaction a sense of history. What was the

reaction like in Canberra? Let reaction like in Canberra? Let me

tell you a bit about it. You've

heard the words

heard the words from parliament.

Behind me

Behind me here, there are thousands Behind me here, there are

and thousands

and thousands of people. Where Kevin

Rudd was speaking, there

Rudd was speaking, there was tears, there was applause, there was applause, there was cheering. I'd

cheering. I'd look around

cheering. I'd look around me -

there's families, mothers embracing

obviously their mothers, there was

begin men in tears embracing - I can't

begin to tell you the emotion that

we saw when Kevin was speaking. Then

when Dr Brendan Nelson

when Dr Brendan Nelson got up, it

was really quite different. There

was booing. And at the very end, was booing. And at the very end, you

heard the applause from parliament

but there wasn't a bit here.

Everyone turned their back to the

screen. Let me introduce Colin to

you. How did you feel when you

Kevin Rudd

Kevin Rudd's words? For me as a boys you. How did you feel when you heard home stolen

home stolen generation, very, very

blessed that this bloke, a blessed that this bloke, a man

amongst all his peers, has

amongst all his peers, has actually

stepped out of the boat and stepped out of the boat and said

sorry to our people. It's emotional.

But for him, you've

But for him, you've got to give big

he stepped honours and credit to him, because

he stepped out of the

he stepped out of the boat and done

it against

it against all his peers, and that's

worth more than any

worth more than any money. What does

it mean to you from now on? Is it

going to help with healing? Yeah, of

course it S. It only takes one to start a

start a ripple, and that's what happens

feeling it happens here in Australia. Are you

feeling it today? Yes, I'm feel it

Some of today. I'm feeling it here today. today. I'm feeling it here

a Some of the boys are telling me he's

a man, you know? He's a man right

happens is, above everybody else, because what

happens is, as I've said, he's

stepped out of the boat and he's stepped out of the boat and

done this. Even some of hes peers

were against it. They were. We

respect him for it, because what

happens - if he done it any other happens - if he done it any

position, he would have been sacked

tomorrow. But he's the top man at

the present, and so the present, and so he did it, and

they can't sack

they can't sack him. That's the

beauty about it. Because we would

have been afraid for him, but we feel great

feel great honours for him at the

present. Well, you have a good day.

There's a

There's a lot planned here for the

lawns. Guys, there are sellgrations

here planned for the entire day.

They've got this giant screen so They've got this giant screen so the

entire address was broadcast town

here. It's kind of like

here. It's kind of like a party

atmosphere. Tlz trr atmosphere. Tlz

atmosphere. There's food stalls and

live music. At 9

live music. At 9 o'clock, while we

were waiting for the address, people

realised they were going to miss the realised they were going to miss

running beginning and they were literally

running down the

running down the path. Kids and

families were running down to see it

in time. It's amazing. It's really

quite emotional. I sort of look

around and there's more people

hugging and lots of

did feel, hugging and lots of tears. It really

did feel, watching, that did feel, watching, that we

did feel, watching, that we kind of

grew up as a grew up as

grew up as a nation, within that our, having both

speak openly and our, having both sides of politics

speak openly and honestly about his

mistakes and it was just kind of

putting it all out there. And don't

forget we saw putting it all out there. And don't

forget we saw the Reconciliation

Alliance walking around

Alliance walking around with Thanks

on their t-shirt, what they wanted

to

to say in response. Yes, and Matilda

House-Williams with the welcome to

country, and then Chris nene King

that you spoke to earlier, just

great role models for what today

means. I couldn't help

means. I couldn't help focusing on

Peter Garrett there as well,

remembering back to the Olympics in

2000 with his Sorry

2000 with his Sorry shirt on. Here's

a guy that has been trying to

convince us to change our attitude

for years. You could almost feel a

bit of history today. I think also

the other thing is the

the other thing is the joy and the

pride. Standing here - if I can pride. Standing here - if I

pride. Standing here - if I can say