Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Sorry Day 2008

At 9AM this morning, the Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd apologised on the behalf of the Australian Government to Aboriginal people. The Aborigines are the native people of Australia who were in possession of the land before white people came to settle in 1788.

He apologised for their treatment at the hands of past Australian Governments, particularly for the Stolen Generation.

This apology was a good thing.

A snippet from SMH:

"Australia has formally apologised to the stolen generations with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd reading a speech in Federal Parliament this morning.

The apology was read at 9am to the minute, as the first action of the second sitting day of the 42nd Parliament of Australia.

Both Mr Rudd and Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin received a standing ovation as they entered the Great Hall before the Prime Minister delivered the speech.

The reading of the 361-word apology was completed by 9.03am and was watched by hundreds of parliamentarians, former prime ministers and representatives of the indigenous community.

Former prime ministers Paul Keating, Bob Hawke, Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser and Sir William Deane were all seated on the floor of the Parliament as well as 17 people representing the stolen generation.
In another address directly after reading the apology, Mr Rudd spoke of removing a "stain from the soul of Australia".

Mr Rudd's speech received a standing ovation at the Redfern Community Centre, where hundreds gathered.

Residents, workers, families, students and Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore braved the rain to watch the speech via a large outdoor screen.

David Page, composer with the indigenous dance group Bangarra Dance Theatre, said he liked the fact that Mr Rudd made a personal apology.

"It was very moving to see a prime minister with a bit of heart. I loved it when he said he was sorry. There was just something personal about it. It's very hard for a prime minister to be personal," he said.

Enid Williams, 72, who was brought up on a mission in north Queensland after her father was forcibly removed from his family, said she was happy with Mr Rudd's speech, but said it was now important to look to the future.

"I'm 72. The main thing is the young people, to give them a better future."

At Martin Place in Sydney, hundreds of Sydneysiders from all walks of life gathered to watch the Sorry Day celebrations holding Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.

Men and women in business suits, schoolchildren and other passers-by of all different backgrounds cried, smiled and stood in respect as they listened to Mr Rudd apologise."

Can't find the transcript of the whole speech but there's a full audio of it here and you can send a message to the PM here at the PM's official website.

My personal apology

I am sorry for Terra Nullius, the taking of Aboriginal land in 1788 that started it all.

I am sorry for all the racism and rip-offs I and my fellow Australians have put upon the Aborigines in the 220 years since 1788.

I am sorry most of all for the Stolen Generation, for the forcible removal of children from their Aboriginal parents on the flimsiest of excuses and sometimes without any excuse, for no other reason than race. No matter what advantages those children may or may not have gained by their removal, it was wrong.

Read all about it

Kevin Rudd says sorry

VIDEO of the Sorry speech (if link not working, go via link above)

AUDIO of the Sorry speech

Day of healing for Aboriginal leaders

Speech gets standing ovation in Redfern

Martin Place crowd weep for the Stolen Generations

Backs turned on Nelson's response

Ancient tensions fail to mar apology

Sorry speech was maginificent

Thunderous appause in Sydney for Rudd's speech

Long queue to witness Rudd speech

Bondi BBQ for live apology

Britain urged to back Rudd's apology

A nation apologises

Family saddened by apology that came too late

A nation shocked by tales of sorrow

Protest against intervention

Welcome ritual marks opening of Parliment

Tears for those who vanished never to return again

Mother's regret carried to the grave

Finally their voices will be heard

Have your say

Rate the apology

Send a message to the PM

Rudd's speech on screens at east Gosford posted on Flickr by Keith Pitty

If anyone has the full transcript of Rudd's speech, feel free to paste it into the comments.


Anonymous said...,25197,23207256-5013172,00.html

found your blog while searching for the transcript on Google so thought I'd link it to you in case you haven't found it yet.

peace and compassion on this momentous day from one anonymous soul to another


Anonymous said...

It was just such an emotional day. I liked the motion that was tabled and I especially like what Rudd said in his speech that followed it. Now for the next stage - to close the gap in education, to close the gap in health, to close the gap in life expectancy.

Jimmy Little said...

There's a full text of the apology (but not Rudd's full speech) at the Beeb's website at Well worth reading — the apology even made above-the-fold front page news on the New York Times (but typically didn't make the cut at the local San Francisco rag here). A much-better-than-hoped-for "Sorry Day", that's for sure, with a more eloquent apology than I expected; it moved even the unmovable me.

Ron Bloomquist said...

Thanks for your multi-covering report, Spike.

Well done and hooray!

Anonymous said...

You HAVE been a busy fella Spike... so many links and so much information! It was indeed a momentous day! I lay in a hospital bed recovering, and I had tears in my eyes mate - such was the feeling, and... well I relate this directly to my Mum, and our experience as we grew up together as a family.

We were well conditioned by those 60's, 70's, and 80's... very well conditioned. My mum took thirty years to get the guts up to kick the Catholic Church out of her own house(the y used to come and conduct monthly house inspections on us whenever my father wasn't home).

I am still - today - in shock of it all, and it's because of good people such as you mate - out there - on our side!

I'm guessing you're not a big fan of Wilson Tuckey then mate? lol

Cheers Spike ;-)

Spike said...

Vastiel, thank yer for the linkage.

Amen to that.

Julie, yer dead right about the next stage. That 17 years difference in life expectancy really hit me in the guts. That means I had my grannies for 17 extra years just because they were white.

Jimmy, thank yer for the linkage.

I am not ashamed to admit I had a little cry.

Ron, thank yer.

We're all grown up now, nearly :)

Belongum, hospital? Look after yerself, mate.

It was momentous all right. So good to hear it at last. Now we can go on to the next bit.

I was as cynical as the next bugger when it was announced. Pollies talk big but how often do they actually deliver? It was such a relief when he came right out and said it.

Give yer Mum a hug from me. Good on her for kicking them out. That must've been really humiliating.

I hope I get my bit of it right. I need educating badly. I don't know where to step and I know I'm not alone in that.

Toerag Tuckey? Nup :)

Anonymous said...

hi spike. you've got a really good and informative blog, thank you! i linked your blog in my blog, because i was writing something about the sorry day. unfortunately, there was nothing about it in the german news... hope the link is ok for you, let me know if you have a problem with it (no worries, the content has the heart on the right place..;)

greetings from the other side of the world: doro

Spike said...

Thank yer, Doro. I like your header image by the way.

No worries about the link.