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Australia says sorry

Written By: - Date published: 4:48 pm, February 13th, 2008 - 24 comments
Categories: International - Tags:

Howard couldn’t bring himself to do it, instead expressing “regret”.

Today, Labor’s Kevin Rudd said sorry in a formal statement to the stolen generations of Aboriginal people of Australia.

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.

Read the full text.

24 comments on “Australia says sorry ”

  1. Ben R 1

    The apology was obviously hugely emotional & seems to have been well received. I think it was an important sympolic step.

    Here’s a slightly contrarian view, suggesting some more practical options to follow:

    “The only successful program from this era was the NSW Aboriginal apprenticeship system, which operated from the 1880s to the 1940s. It provided real jobs and skills and gave young Aborigines a way out of the alcohol-soaked, handout-dominated camps and reserves of their parents. Indeed, it is a policy that could well be revived today to rescue children from the sexual assault and substance abuse prevalent in the remote communities.

    If Rudd led a real Labor Government, he would be more concerned about emulating the down-to-earth policies devised by his party’s predecessors among the old cream of the working class than pandering to the misinterpretations of the recent academic historians who created this issue.”


  2. Ah, I see what the “R” stands for now…

  3. And speaking of racists:


    Davey hits the right note but it’s not enough to quell the kiwiblog right…

  4. Billy 4

    I am very glad they have said sorry. A fine example of what happens when the well-meaning state decides it knows better how people should raise their children.

  5. Yes that’s right Billy – I said exactly the same thing when Shippers tried to take folk’s benefits off them when their kids bunked school…

  6. Billy 6

    Not even slightly the same thing, ‘sod. If you want the everyone else to support you it is only fair that that happens on their terms. If you don’t like it, you have another option: supporting yourself. Horrible, I know.

  7. gobsmacked 7

    Those Kiwiblog comments are staggering. And it’s not just one or two of them. What a crowd.

    I feel sorry for the decent ones on the right (they do exist). Doug Graham would probably be called a Communist Appeaser by the KB mob.

    Anyway, well done Australia. A special day.

  8. Billy 8

    And ‘sod, don’t call people “folk”. It makes it sound like they’ve got Abe Lincoln beards and very woolly homespun jumpers.

  9. The Double Standard 9

    I wonder when we are going to get an apology from Cunliffe or Clark for the shocking state of the NZ health system?


    Hey, at least there will be plenty of work for the NZ grievance industry to expand across the Tasman eh?

  10. AncientGeek 10

    Those Kiwiblog comments are staggering. And it’s not just one or two of them. What a crowd.

    You get the distinct feeling that they’re worried by something. Probably that last Morgan poll.

    Back on topic, unlike the troll TDS who just seems to say some of the most idiotic garbage. Looks like he never looks at the age statistics and implications for the health system. Perhaps he would point to how specifically the Nats are proposing to pay for the increased health burden? Still haven’t seen anything except a distinct lack of policy from them.

    The apology by Rudd was a minor start. The aussies have a really awful track record with the aborigines. Comes from the presumption early last century that it wouldn’t be an issue long term. That disease and policies designed to destroy their culture would make the ‘problem’ disappear.

    It hasn’t, and the aussies have a pretty major problem. Have a look at the stuff at wiki here. From other material I’ve read, it looks to me like there is massive underreporting.

    cap: velvet wreckage

  11. AncientGeek 11

    Bugger – shows what happens when you’re trying to eat and type at the same time.

  12. The Double Standard 12

    Try concentrating on one thing at a time AG.

    Isn’t Rudd continuing with the main thrust of Howard’s actual policies in the NT?

    As for NZ, perhaps you need to enlighten the Health and Disability Commissioner on age statistics and implications for the health system? The point is really that talk is cheap. Rudd is in power now. What’s he going to do? Will dumping billions of compensation make an actual difference, or will it be captured by an aboriginal elite?


    As for KB comments, there are a few nutters on each side of the room. Look at Robinsod for an example.

  13. Dean 13

    “I wonder when we are going to get an apology from Cunliffe or Clark for the shocking state of the NZ health system?”

    You’re not even any good at trolling.

    Why aren’t you banned yet?

  14. gobsmacked 14

    “As for KB comments, there are a few nutters on each side of the room.”

    Old cop-out, TDS. Won’t wash.

    Read the Kiwiblog thread. You’ve got a parade of bigotry with ony a minority demurring. And that happens daily on that blog, and its cousins on the right.

    Give examples of such threads from the other side. Please.

    Incidentally, where do you stand on Rudd’s statement today? For or against?

  15. I hear TDS hasn’t been banned ‘cos the standard like to have a pet Nat researcher. It gives them something to joke about down at the club…

  16. mike 16

    I see Rudd has rolled a policy called “cloing the gaps”
    Wait for the affirmative action and racist policy to start – at least we might see some Aussies heading our way for once but only until he does a Clark and flipflops because of the backlash…

  17. Hey Mike – you don’t even realise how dumb that sounds do you?

  18. r0b 18

    The Double Standard: I wonder when we are going to get an apology from Cunliffe or Clark for the shocking state of the NZ health system?

    TDS, I get pretty sick of people trying to score cheap points by bagging our health system (and by implication the hard working doctors and nurses who run it).

    Yes, Ron Paterson identifies some problems, fine, progress is being made on those issues. But hello – reality check – New Zealand has one of the world’s best health systems. See for example a 2004 report issued by the New York-based Commonwealth Fund.

    Their survey ranked New Zealand’s health system second among the six developed countries it covered. Germany is ranked first. We came in ahead of Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. See the report here:


    So there you go TDS, how about an apology, and even a big thank you to our excellent health professionals and our excellent health system?

  19. Ben R 19


    I’m not sure what your idea to improve the position of Aborigines is, but practical ideas like those suggested in that article are consistent with what Noel Pearson (who is in a far better position to comment than you or I) has said previously:

    “So my thinking has led me to the view that our descent into passive welfare dependency has taken a decisive toll on our people, and the social problems which it has precipitated in our families and communities have had a cancerous effect on our relationships and values. Combined with our outrageous grog addiction and the large and growing drug problem amongst our youth, the effects of passive welfare have not yet steadied. Our social problems have grown worse over the course of the past thirty years. The violence in our society is of phenomenal proportion and of course there is inter-generational transmission of the debilitating effects of the social passivity which our passive economy has induced.”


  20. Ruth 20

    All the more reason why Rudd’s apology was long overdue Ben R — 99% of the problems Aboriginals face has been caused by government intervention. Something I would have thought conservatives and libertarians would understand.

    Amazes me how those who gnash their teeth over ‘nanny state’ seem to absolve the state of responsibility when it comes to Aboriginals.

  21. Ben R 21

    I agree the apology was overdue & Rudd did a good job with it. I just wondered what practical steps were also being taken & the apprenticeship scheme mentioned sounded useful.

    I mentioned Noel Pearson above, here’s his comment on the Rudd apology. http://propagandapress.org/2008/02/13/noel-pearson-on-australias-apology/

  22. Phil 22

    I get the feeling that one of the big concerns from European Australians is that ‘Sorry’ is the first step down the road to grievance industry gravy trains, which is how a lot of Aussies view New Zealands Treaty settlements.

  23. Gooner 23

    Hey, I’m from the right (obviously not the Kiwiblog right tho’) and I think Rudd’s apology is fantastic.

    I hope that Howard the horrible choked on his breakfast when he heard it.

  24. Y’know just when I was gonna write you off as a rightwing loon you come out with something like this. I guess you never can tell…

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