From the Age: Hands across the nation, ‘The apology to indigenous Australians is not about dwelling on the past, it’s about building a future.’:
I know of no indigenous person who told their story to the inquiry who wanted non-indigenous Australians to feel guilty — they just wanted people to know the truth. They wanted to tell the stories of their lives, to have the truth of their experiences acknowledged. Many people who gave evidence to the inquiry said that the telling was itself healing — knowing that at last they were being officially heard.
Governments inherit the laws and practices of previous governments, and so, too, do they inherit responsibility for past actions. We as Australians need to acknowledge the effects that past policies had on indigenous people, the hurt that has been caused to a group of Australians on the basis of their race, and we should rejoice, and take great pride, in today’s apology in our Federal Parliament.
Ultimately, we have chosen not to turn away from what was done to those children. We have chosen to face it for what it was, and I know that Australians will feel great relief having done so.
This is not about taking a “black armband” view of history. It is not about dwelling on the past for its own sake. This history is not someone else’s history. Today’s apology is about healing and reconciliation for the benefit of us all.