Wednesday 13 February 2008

Big Day for Australia

Thai politics and politicians may have gone down the toilet with the recent change in government but I've got to say that Australia's new government led by Kevi baby (aka Kevin Rudd) absolutely craps on the previous Liberal John Howard run fiasco.

I'm not staunchly nationalistic, but that said, I do love my birth country and would not wish to be any other nationality but Australian. Without bias (ha! much) Australia is the best country in the world to come from. Today was huge for Australian history... the Australian government finally apologised to Indigenous Australians for the Stolen Generation. Reading the news this morning actually made me teary reading the apology.. just imagining how the people affected by this travesty would have felt hearing an official apology and recognition for what happened.

In a brazil nut the Stolen Generation refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were forcibly removed from their families to be placed in state housing or with white families in what the government considered a rescue mission for half-castes living in poor, degraded communities to become 'civilised' with better life prospects and many believe to breed out the colour to 'eradicate the black race'. This was legally carried out by government officials, police and religious groups between 1880 and 1969, with the crux of it happening in the 1930s. It is estimated that well over 100,000 children were forcibly removed from their parents, community and culture.

From an official report written in 1997:
"Nationally we can conclude with confidence that between one in three and one in ten Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and communities in the period from approximately 1910 until 1970. In certain regions and in certain periods the figure was undoubtedly much greater than one in ten."

From Big Kev's speech:
"Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history. We reflect on their past mistreatment...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."

While Johnny Howard didn't deny the stolen generation happened (one of his MPs did) he refused outright to apologise, not wanting to open his government up to potential financial responsibility for admitting fault, Rudd's apology goes beyond being a mere political stunt but showing someone with progressive thinking not stuck in the last century. That's not to say that I love the dude or anything, just that he's a better leader then the previous government we had for 11 years.

Yay to the new government and yay to lots of positive action being taken!

3 commentaramas:

Anonymous said...

Yes it was amazing I got teary just walking through martin place in sydney where the appology was being broadcast, it was the most amazing atmosphere. Am finally proud to be aussie again.

Carol said...

I think he took a HUGE step today (and a brave one!!)

C x

Amy T said...

What amazingly good news. I learned more about the stolen generation when I saw the movie your pictures portray, Rabbit Proof Fence. The story just broke my heart, especially when it profiled the two women whose life the story was based on. To think it affected so many Aborigenes (sorry if spelled incorrectly) is shattering.