"Sorry" - Apology to Australia's Aborigines

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Sorry to Australia's Aboriginals!Australia has finally expressed an official apology to its indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. On the second day of the first session of the Australian Parliament under his leadership, Prime Minister Rudd made the formal apology in Parliament on Wednesday, February 14, 2008.   Books and Readers on Australia's indigenous population and Aboriginal history.

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The Text of the Apology:

Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.
We reflect on their past mistreatment.
We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations - this blemished chapter in our nation's history.
The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.
We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.
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 degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.
We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.
For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.
We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.
A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.
A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.
A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.
A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.
A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia."

(Spoken by Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, in Parliament, Canberra on February 14, 2008)
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Wiradjuri Aborigine King Billy Jimmy ClementsThe Opening of Parliament on February 12, 2008 under the new government was very different to the first opening in 1927.  Then, an indigenous Aboriginal man from the Wiradjuri tribe, Jimmy "King Billy" Clements wanted to attend the opening. His barefoot presence with his two dogs did not please a policeman who asked him to leave, King Billy protesting that this was the land of his ancestors.  Many bystanders encouraged him to stay and he was eventually able to greet the dignitaries from London.  He died three months later and was buried an outsider in his own land.  The recent Opening of Parliament however acknowledged the Aboriginal presence with didgeridoos, the stomping of bare feet, red/yellow/black flags, possum cloaks and message sticks in Parliament House on Capital Hill.

Bookmark this!       Download "Sorry Text" Poster here for printing

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