February 14, 2012
It is four years ago that the Australian parliament officially apologized to the Aboriginals, and Aboriginal leaders are looking towards the future.
Below is an article published by Indigenous Peoples and Issues:
The fourth anniversary of the National Apology is a reminder of how our nation can come together in efforts to overcome injustices of the past and look to the future, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda said today.
Commissioner Gooda said the National Apology to members of the Stolen Generations marked a point in the nation’s maturity and has helped to build the momentum we now have towards becoming a truly reconciled nation.
“Like many Australians, I remember where I was on that historic day when the Australian Parliament acknowledged the pain, trauma and distress caused to many of our elders who were forcibly removed from their families,” Commissioner Gooda said.
“Like many Australians, I was profoundly moved by the fact that after so many years, our mothers and fathers, our sisters and brothers, our aunties and uncles and even some of our children, finally received the acknowledgement and apology they deserved for lives torn apart by policies and practices of past governments.”
Commissioner Gooda said the outpouring of emotion and the groundswell of goodwill created by the National Apology showed what was possible when the Parliament stands as one for the good of the nation.
“With bipartisan support, the National Apology brought the nation together,” Mr Gooda said.
“I believe the time is right to build on this and take the next step in asking the nation to come together again in one voice and recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.”
Commissioner Gooda said the National Apology played a critical role in building and strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the non-Indigenous community.
“I believe in 2012 we stand at a point in time where we truly can focus the nation’s efforts on building understanding and respect for Australia’s First Peoples by recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the nation’s founding document,” he said.
“To do otherwise would be a disservice to all our elders, ourselves and our grandchildren and would rob us as a nation of the opportunity to make a lasting difference.”