Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Maybe I'm in leftist, socialist heaven here but it does seem that most people were following the apology to the stolen generations. People were sitting in their cars listening to it rather than going to work. I liked the focus on how saying sorry is not about making you feel better it's about the person (or people in this case) you're saying sorry to and that you have to take the good with the bad about your country and make amends. There is also a sense that some sort of action will take place; with both sides of parliament working together. A lot of the Howard policies were designed as wedges to divide, so while I'm very skeptical, I'm a little bit hopeful that some inclusive politics will occur.

There were a couple of moments I thought worth mentioning from Rudd's speech:
After living in Alice Springs for a "few years", government policy changed and the young girl was handed over to the missions.

"The kids were simply told to line up in three lines ... those on the left were told they had become Catholics, those in the middle, Methodist and those on the right, Church of England," Mr Rudd said.

"That's how the complex questions of post-reformation theology were resolved in the Australian outback in the 1930s.

"It was as crude as that."

Mr Rudd said should there still be doubts, the historical record showed that between 1910 and 1970, between 10 and 30 per cent of indigenous children were forcibly taken from their mothers and fathers.

"As a result up to 50,000 children were forcibly taken from their families," he said.

Mr Rudd said one of the most notorious examples of this approach came from the Northern Territory Protector of Natives, who had stated: "Generally by the fifth and invariably by the sixth generation all native characteristics of the Australian Aborigine are eradicated. The problem of our half castes... will quickly be eliminated by the complete disappearance of the black race and the swift submergence of their progeny in the white."

"The 1970s is not exactly a point in remote antiquity," he said.

"There are still serving members in this parliament who were first elected to this place in the early 1970s.

It's been a long time, I remember Paul Keating's Redfern Park speech which was voted the number 3 speech after Martin Luther King and Jesus.
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