One year on, and at the moment ABC is running an episode of Message Stick in commemoration: The Apology. Jack Thompson’s voice-over is a touch fruity, but the content is very good.
…EVONNE GOOLAGONG-CAWLEY: I had to be here for this wonderful historical decision, really. Apology, and, um… and I guess it’s about time. I’m just very happy for a lot of the people, you know, who’ve gone through those painful years of being taken away. I mean I myself, being a mother, I can’t imagine how deeply the pain was, to have a child actually taken from them. I mean, I’ve often thought about even my own children, you know, Kelly and Morgan, I thought – I don’t think I would be able to recover if anything like that happened to me.
WOMAN: Hi, everybody! It’s so fantastic to see you all.
SHELLEY REYS: An apology is not the panacea. It’s not the one-stop shop that means that everything’s gonna be fine. But what it is is a great foundation or stepping stone into making these things more possible. It gives us a chance to think about the possibilities of what we can achieve beyond this point. It’s almost like the apology is an act of reconciliation. But I see that the work of reconciliation is still ongoing and continues. We need to be thinking about how we can change the lives of Indigenous people for the better. And we already have that task before us now, but even more so after the apology. It’s almost like this enables us to make this happen, because we’re repairing some poor relationships of the past and with an apology I think what we get is mutual respect and I hope what we get from that is also mutual responsibility, so in other words, with the government putting a hand of friendship forward that Indigenous Australians will also say I’ll reach out for that hand, and let’s work together. You know, while the Government may say here’s my opportunity to build a new path that means that Indigenous Australians will help build that path with them….
“An apology is not the panacea. It’s not the one-stop shop that means that everything’s gonna be fine. But what it is is a great foundation or stepping stone into making these things more possible. It gives us a chance to think about the possibilities of what we can achieve beyond this point.”
So without too much about how much is left to do, let’s recall that day and be glad, in the spirit of the remarks above.
— photo from Stolen Generations Accept Apology From Kevin Rudd On Sorry Day(Raymattja Marika). Photographer Andrew Sheargold/Getty Images AsiaPac.