Kevin Rudd’s Sorry statement has to say why the government is sorry – press release from Michael Anderson

Press release:  Michael Anderson, Goodooga, NSW, 29 January 2008

In a statement from Goodooga in NW NSW, Michael Anderson said today:

“In our family’s experience, my grandmother taken from Angledool, NW NSW in 1914 and had to find her own way home. She always wanted recognition of the government’s cruel judgement to breed out the colour and culture of Aboriginal people.”

“For an apology to be meaningful, there is a lot of history that PM Kevin Rudd has to admit to. He has to say why the Prime Minister and government is sorry and the public has to accept that the sorry statement is necessary for Australia to move forward.”

“In 1937, State and Federal governments convened aconference in Canberra to decide on a policy of what to do with ‘the Aborigines’ – the resulting policy objective was for the complete annihilation of a race of Peoples. The principle method to achieve this was to remove Aboriginal children from their parents and from the influence of customs, traditions and Law/Lore. The primary objectives were to de-Aboriginalise these children and to expunge their colour, because Australia was working towards an Aryan race.”

“It is important to remember that, in 1901, the first Federal Prime Minister, Edmund Barton, argued for a continent that could be free of ‘contamination’ by foreign and unwanted racial impurities. When he led the debate in the House of Representatives on the Immigration Restriction Bill 7 August 1901, he quoted Professor Pearson a noted social commentator of the time by saying: ‘The fear of Chinese immigration which the Australian democracy cherishes … is in fact, the instinct of self-preservation, quickened by experience … We are guarding the last part of the world in which the higher races can live and increase freely for the higher civilisation .… The day will come …when the European observers will look around the globe girdled with a continuous zone of the yellow and black races. It is idle to say that if all this should come to pass our pride and place will not be humiliated. We are struggling among ourselves for supremacy in a world which we thought of as destined to belong to the Aryan race; and to the Christian faith; to the letters and arts and charms which we have inherited from the best of times.”

“Many in mainstream cannot plead ignorance as it was a common agreement between State and Federal governments with the policy finalised in 1937 in Canberra. There are many Australians still alive today, who voted and trusted the governments to do right thing, but never questioned what was going on. The policy was genocidal in intent and practice – to create a white Australia without colour.”

“In almost every other country in the world, where colonisation has taken place, reparations in various forms have enabled survivors of gross violations of human rights to locate their niche in society. Reparation funds have made it possible for those indigenous groups to maintain identity, restore dignity, develop strategies and an economic base.”

“Reparation programs have to ensure there is not a white bureaucracy having control over us. We have to get away from mission managers. We do not want to be treated as children. We have never been given opportunity to manage our own affairs without a white bureaucratic ceiling of control and an expectation of assimilation.”

“Aboriginal Peoples can do without the welfare handouts. Our nations have to restore their territorial integrity and Australians have no reason to fear this.”“We must set our own objectives. We have a right to do this. The recent UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples affirms our rights and responsibilities. In Australia, Greeks, Italians, Macedonians have own clubs, churches, languages,schools while integrating into Australian society. Why is it different for us as Aboriginal Nations and Peoples in our own land?”

“If Rudd and his labour government are serious, the detail of a sorry statement must include the true horror of the genocide that was planned against Aboriginal Peoples and what was carried out.”

“To alleviate the Australian governments’ fears of separate development through reparation, they only have to look at US and Canadian models, where the sovereign identity of individual nations is maintained. In the Mabo case, the High Court alluded to the fact that sovereignty can continue to exist among Aboriginal Peoples and we assert that it does. We only ask that this be respected and that we can have co- existing sovereignties.”


Filed under Aboriginal, australia, history, justice, politics, reconciliation

11 responses to “Kevin Rudd’s Sorry statement has to say why the government is sorry – press release from Michael Anderson

  1. Diet Simon

    John, you are fab! Thanks a million! I’ve only ever been able to see a faint photocopy at Michael’s.

  2. Hi,

    I’ve just posted something with the Redfern-Waterloo group with reference to these issues.

    What I wanted to add here is that we need to be careful about a right wing extremist bid to use the Labor party’s election victory to make it seem as though only Labor ever owed an apology to the stolen generations.

    Also sorry if last time I left a comment here my weblog url was not working too good: try for some funny business with ASIO and for a letter I sent to Kevin Rudd recently about a part of current legislation as it tends to read to certain persons who do not have the best interests of Aboriginal Australia at heart.


  3. SOAD

    never say sorry. nothing to say sorry for

  4. Ho hum,
    I have left the above comment up because I have a general (but not absolute) no censorship policy.

    I dont like it, not because of its racism, but because of its meaninglessness

    SOAD, if you are capable of expressing an idea I would be curious to hear it, or are you only capable of petty and stupid utterings?

  5. honestly… i think he just did what he did to gain votes… he had NOTHING to do with them so he had no real reason to apologise.. attention seeker much??!! =]

  6. Ana

    kevin rudds sorry spin, is the most disgusting display of sickly white liberalism I have seen in a while. Its not as if racist white settler strayaliea is let off the hook for committing and continuing to commit genocide against Aboriginal First Nations.

    The invasion in the NT continues unabated. I dont see the gubbament rushing to sign the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous people.No restitution, No land rights, no treaty here, saying sorry is an absolute political ruse!

    Reconciliation and healing are empty words meant to distance the despicable past from the hands that direct the present day occupation.

    Under these terms there can be no justice but only racist denial. What else is new.

    Say Sovereignty not Sorry

    naku noa na

  7. Anna

    I am writing an essay about this sorry speach. I am going to look at why Kevin Rudd felt that it was necessary to say sorry and if the speach should have encompassed additional aspects of regret for past mistakes.
    I am not from Australia so therefore my background knowledge is quite poor..since many of you seem to have good knowledge I wonder if you have some tips about where I can find good information and different thoughts about this.

  8. Hello Anna,

    Rudd’s sorry speech was just tokenism. The previous government refused to say sorry for the stolen generation as was recommended by the “Bringing them home” report on Aboriginal child removals. The ALP (the party of the present government) had consistently said over the years that it would make an apology. It just had to happen. However the “Bringing them home” report also recommended compensation for the victims of stolen children policies which Rudd has dismissed.

    Rudd has still, after over 2 years of government, has still not re-instated the racial discrimination act despite its promises to do so and international condemnation for not doing so.

    An interesting comparison is the former (ALP) prime minister Paul Keating who made a much more meaingful speech in 1992 called “the Redfern Speech”.

    You can see that here –

    The 1992 speech came after 20 years of intense struggle which lead to native title, ATSIC (limited self government) and the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody.

    The Howard government (1996 – 2007) abolished ATSIC, turned native title law into a mechanism for extinguishment, not recognition, of traditional title and initiated the authoritarian and racist “Northern Territory Intervention” which Rudd maintains till today.

    Rudd’s apology comes after Howard’s smashing of ABoriginal Australia so he had no pressure on him to deliver anything meaningfull (e.g. compensation). Keating’s 1992 spech and the following legislation on ATSIC and native title came during a strong Aboriginal movement.

    Some general background –

  9. M-Jay

    Hey guys,
    what do you want Kevin Rudd to do?
    He apologized to the Aborigines .. even if it was not his fault what happened! I think the whole nation learned that it was wrong what happened.. what else can Kevin Rudd do? He gave money to some native camps to help … what do you want him to do?

    • koopara

      I think it is clear that the details have to be SPELLED OUT to the public because there is so much negative media headlining about Aborigines. What the white-way-is-the-best-way public fail to understand is WHAT has contributed to hopelessness and loss of dignity for many Aborigines. The public need to know their history – they need to take ownership of THEIR nasty history – this is your history white Australia … and what the public fail to be informed about as well are the initiatives that Aboriginal communities can foster if consulted, given the leadership and given the resources. This is their country.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s