Tuesday, February 12, 2008




Today the people of Australia apologized to the Aboriginal people, the oldest living culture on the planet, for the wrongs inflicted upon them by the European settlers over the last 210 years.

Kevin Rudd, our humane and enlightened newly-elected Prime Minister, fulfilling his election promise, delivered the Apology to the Aboriginal people as his first task at the start of the first sitting of the 42nd Parliament in Canberra today.

Aboriginal tribal elders witnessed the event from the Public Gallery above.

Outside thousands of Aboriginal people and supporters from all cultures that make up our multicultural nation watched the proceedings on a giant screen. All around Australia people gathered to watch this historic moment that will transform our nation from this day forward.

I was in tears. Many were.

At the conclusion all members present rose in support. Their united voice said "Yeah".

Australia says Sorry.

This is a new beginning.
This is not an intellectual exercise,nor an empty condescending gesture.
Sorry is a word of substance with an agenda of positive action encoded within it.
Reconciliation will follow.

This is a core promise of national responsibility that goes beyond all posturing, petty politics & puerile attitudes.

The Commission that will follow will introduce constructively defined projects to improve the life of these people.

We have to come to terms with the past in order to embrace the future.

"Seize the Day," says Kevin. Let this day become a rare moment of national transformation. The real possibility of reconciliation of our indigenous people.

It brings the last two shameful centuries to a close and opens a new chapter that respectfully recognizes these ancient people, the original inhabitants, who have inhabited the Australian continent for >60,000 years......some estimates say twice that.

We cannot go back but we can go forward and not repeat past mistakes.

Minds wide open we can tackle the challenges that we will encounter as we go forward in this new chapter in our nation's story.

Nobody says it's an immediate cure, that suddenly everything wrong will miraculously come right.

But it is the first step in the healing process and will eventually lead to a healthier united Australian nation for the generations to come.

It is about decency and respect.

We will craft a new future from this day forward.

They no longer speak of boongs & blacks,
hey talk of the Aboriginal people
Neville Bonner -1st Aboriginal MP

Images recorded from ABC TV 130208

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