House debates

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Statements by Members

Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples

1:55 pm

Photo of Jenny MacklinJenny Macklin (Jagajaga, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

This was the day 11 years ago that this parliament told the truth. This was the day that Kevin Rudd as the Prime Minister apologised on behalf of the parliament and the Australian people to those children who had been taken from their families. Finally the truth was told, and so many people—the people who were taken, the mothers and fathers, the brothers and sisters, all of the families—finally knew that they were believed.

It was an extraordinary day. This amazing chamber was full of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We had decided, on the advice of Linda Burney, that the members of the stolen generations would sit on the floor of the parliament, but all the galleries were full of members of the stolen generations and people who had come to support them. In the Great Hall, on the lawns outside, in every single capital city, in workplaces and schools, everyone came together to say sorry—to acknowledge the truth.

People cannot heal unless they hear the truth, unless they are believed, and they were that day. It was an amazingly special day, and I thank everyone who made it such an important occasion for those who were taken.