February 13th 2008: Kevin Rudd apologises

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Rudd’s apology played to crowds

On this day in 2008, the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology to the Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations for years of mistreatment and oppression. The apology was passed unanimously by both houses of the Australian Parliament and was one of the first acts of the new Parliament. The apology was for the policies of the Australian federal and state governments who had forcibly taken children of Aboriginal Australians away from their families – the ‘Stolen Generations’. Rudd pledged to bridge the gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians.

 

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Children of the ‘Stolen Generations’

Whilst it may seem an apology is a trite way to address a legacy of persecution, this was a huge symbolic moment in Australian history. Nothing will heal the pain suffered by Indigenous families, but an official acknowledgement of the horrors that came with European settlement is an important first step.

 

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A ‘stolen child’ hears the apology

 

“The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page, a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.”

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