On February 13, 2008, then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd formally acknowledged the suffering and anguish experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people when past government policy allowed the forced removal of their children.
The children who were removed from their families became known as The Stolen Generation. This act caused considerable damage to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine, said the Apology was incredibly meaningful the First Nations people, claiming that the Apology was an important step in restoring a new respectful relationship between indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Many Australians across the country watched the Apology.
“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.”
When Kevin Rudd stopped speaking, there was a huge wave of tears, relief and applause flowing across Australia. Ms Mundine stated, ‘While the apology was a historical occasion, it was only a starting point.’