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Australia could come to grips with its recent past by the PM offering a simple apology.

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Media Release

The Hon Warren Snowdon, MP

Australian Labor Party

Member for the Northern Territory


25 May 1999


Australia could come to grips with its recent past by the PM offering a simple apology


Federal member Warren Snowdon said Australia could be gin to come to grips with its recent past by Prime Minister Howard offering a simple apology on National Sorry Day tomorrow.


“All the money and the programmes in the world are all very well in trying to heal the wounds of the past,” Mr Snowdon said.


“However, if we have a political leadership that refuses to offer the Stolen Generation on behalf of the Government and the Australian people a simple apology, then there is obviously an inability to comprehend what the past wrongs have been.


“There is a real failure of the leadership in this country to fully understand the hurt that has been done to the indigenous people of Australia over the past two centuries,” Mr Snowdon said.


“But worse, there is a failure to fully understand the wrong that has been done in our lifetimes to the Stolen Generation - people who are alive, who we know, who we work with, and who are our friends and neighbours.


“The Stolen Generation are a group of people that have been profoundly affected by the policies of some of Mr Howard’s political generation,” Mr Snowdon said.


“This is not a question of Mr Howard being called on to accept personal responsibility for that. But it is a question of him accepting that it was not until a couple of decades ago Australia’s policy of stealing children was changed.


“The hurt has been compounded by the Prime Minister’s inability to apologise on behalf of the nation. And for all the reasons stated he should do so.


“Now that the Stolen Generation have taken action through the courts to address their situation, instead of the Government instructing its legal Counsel to pursue a vindictive and malicious course, it should be working towards a negotiated settlement with them.


“This will be a far less costly painful process, both emotionally and financially.


“But most importantly it would be in our national interest to encourage the healing process rather than to deepen the wounds.


“As the Federal Member for the Northern Territory I will be speaking at a ceremony in Alice Springs tomorrow to mark National Sorry Day - and I will again say ‘Sorry’,” Mr Snowdon said.





Tony Haritos  (08)8945 7400,  0417 804 878



md 1999-05-27  10:37