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19 February, 2022

Fourteenth anniversary of National Apology marked in parliament

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt marked the 14th anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations.

By Supplied

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Mr Wyatt, speaking in the House of Representatives on Monday, acknowl- edged his fellow Indigenous parliamentary colleagues, and the members and families of the Stolen Generations across Australia.

“Yesterday marked the 14th anniver- sary of the formal apology to the Stolen Generations, offered by the then-prime minister Kevin Rudd on behalf of the Australian government. As a child of the Stolen Generations, to hear our govern- ment acknowledge the tremendous wrongs committed against our people was profound.

“The apology stopped the nation and asked all Australians to imagine that feeling of loss, and collectively affirm that what happened should have never happened.

“Together, we said ‘sorry’. And we are still sorry.”

Mr Wyatt said his Indigenous col- leagues are a testament to the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

While recognising and marking the importance of the National Apology, Mr Wyatt called for continued practical sup- port.

“Powerful words must be followed by practical action.

The Stolen Generations lost their childhoods, their connections to family, country, and culture. We cannot give

back lost childhoods.” Mr Wyatt spoke to the new Territories Stolen Generations Redress Scheme that will provide financial payment, wellbeing support, and legal aid to Indigenous Australians removed from the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory, and Jervis Bay.

The scheme will be delivered in a sur- vivor-focusses, trauma-informed, and culturally sensitive way.

The past fortnight Mr Wyatt has trav- elled across the country to speak with members of the Stolen Generations, lis- tening to their truths so they will not be forgotten.

“This parliament said sorry 14-years- ago, and since that day we have strived to meet those words with actions, we will not always get it right, but the more we listen, the more we engage, the more we appreciate; the better our actions and out- comes will be.

“Many more of our people will leave their song lines here, future generations will be in this place, and they will bring their voice to the cabinet.

“Their experiences, knowledge and understanding will continue to contribute and guide this great nation and its peo- ple.”

The National Apology to the Stolen Generations was delivered by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on February 13, 2008.

The Parliament of Australia issued the apology for the forced removals of Indigenous children from their families by Australian governments. 

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