Federation Square - Melbourne
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14 February 2008 - We are fast approching the 2nd Anniversary of Kevin Rudd's historic speech to the Australian Federal Parliament when he publicly said "Sorry" for the Stolen Generations, the 19th - 20th century policy of forcible removal of Australian Aboriginal children from their mothers which was an evil and racist part of the overall Aboriginal Genocide that commenced in 1788 and is still continuing today.
PM Rudd's speech was important in its healing implications for the victims and Indigenous Australians in general and it was expected to represent an historic turn-around and new chapter in Australia's history.
However the harsh reality is that on 13th February 2008 0.5 million Indigenous Australians were still mostly living in Third World conditions and the Aboriginal Genocide (9,000 Aboriginal excess deaths annually, 90,000 Aboriginal excess deaths in the 11 years of the previous Government) is continuing. Indeed it took an ultra-conservative commentator to point out that the term "genocide" was not even used by PM Rudd or the Leader of the Opposition in their "Sorry" speeches.
Just a few hours after the "Sorry" vote in the Australian Parliament, the 'Australian Greens' leader Bob Brown moved to amend the historic "Sorry Motion" by adding a commitment to offer "just compensation to all those who suffered loss" - but this was voted out by all the non-Green Australian Senators in a 65 to 4 vote.
It took 220 years for the White Australians to finally say "Sorry" - not for the Aboriginal Genocide which they don't Acknowledge or don't talk about, but for the "collateral" White abuse of Aboriginal Children. However it only took them several hours to show the world that they didn't actually mean it.
It is useful to see how other societies have dealt with the aftermath of Genocide. In 1945 the Germans adopted a post-Holocaust protocol that can be summarized by the acronym C4A (CAAAA), this involving Cessation of the killing, Acknowledgment of the crimes, Apology, Amends (reparations, compensation) and Assertion "never again" (or more properly, "never again to anyone").
Posted by 'Treaty Republic' Sub-Editor - includes excerpts from: Australian Aboriginal Genocide. Australia's "Sorry", Genocide Denial & Hypocrisy by Dr Gideon Polya, MWC News, 14 February 2008.
"I give notice that, at the next sitting, I will move:
That 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."