Human Interest

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Australia Apologizes to Nation’s Aborigines

February 13, 2008 03:32 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivers the Australian government’s an official apology to the Aborigines, citing over half a century of oppressive laws and policies.

30-Second Summary

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Australia’s parliament voted unanimously on Wednesday to issue a formal apology to the nation’s Aborigines.

Prime Minister Rudd expressed particular remorse for the indigenous people’s “Stolen Generations,” the thousands of Aborigine children who were forcibly removed from their families and resettled in white households.

National Aboriginal Alliance spokesperson Michael Mansell said, “Stolen Generation members will be very relieved.” But Lowitja O’Donoghue, while lauding the measure, said that reparations should be the next step.

Aboriginal rights leader Noel Pearson echoed O’Donoghue’s sentiment, saying, “Blackfellas will get the words, the whitefellas keep the money.”

The Stolen Generations comprise the some 100,000 Aborigine children who were taken from their families and adopted into white households as part of the government’s program of forced assimilation.

Nonetheless, there were those who disagreed with Rudd’s apology. Tony Abbott, the parliamentary opposition’s spokesperson for the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, said, “Yes, some kids were stolen and this is shameful, but many were helped and some were rescued.”

Opposition leader Brendan Nelson went on the record as saying he was against use of the term “Stolen Generations” on the grounds that it had criminal connotations.

Headline Link: ‘Australia Apology to Aborigines’

Background: The Stolen Generations

Reactions: The apology and the national reaction

Opinion & Analysis: Reparations and the cultural divide

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Reference: Official government reports on the Stolen Generations

Key Player: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Related Topics: Australian travel and culture

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