‘Sorry’ only half the story

My friends over at the North Australia Aboriginal Justice Agency in Darwin issued this press release earlier today…I reckon it is a timely reminder of what hasn’t been achieved over the past few years…

As National Sorry Day approaches, the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) considers there is still more work to be done to achieve meaningful justice for the Stolen Generations.

NAAJA’s Chairperson, Dorothy Fox, said that ‘the Federal Government only went part of the way when Kevin Rudd said ‘Sorry’. ‘The real work of reconciliation for the Stolen Generations is far from finished. Properly acknowledging the harm that was done to so many Aboriginal people requires compensation and greater inclusion of Aboriginal people in policy-making.’

Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory were subjected to forced removal policies from 1890 onwards. That is almost a century of violent dispossession and forced assimilation. National Sorry Day is a poignant reminder of the brutal colonisation inflicted upon Aboriginal people.

Ms. Fox went on to say that ‘The significance of this history can not be over-estimated. All of us are affected by this history. So all of us should remember and pay our respects to Aboriginal people on this day. We should also use this day to look forward to how we can make things right.’

‘An important way forward is to make sure that all policies which affect Aboriginal people are developed in consultation with Aboriginal people.

History has shown us that top down policies end up doing more harm than good. If the Government is genuinely Sorry, they should demonstrate this through including Aboriginal people in policy making decisions.’

Ms. Fox said that ‘the Intervention is an example of policy which was made without talking to Aboriginal people. It is policy which again disempowers Aboriginal people and leaves Aboriginal people feeling like they are second class citizens.’

‘If the Government was really concerned about the situation in Aboriginal communities, they would have done what the Little Children Are Sacred report recommended, and consulted with Aboriginal people.’

‘So even though the Rudd Labor Government said ‘Sorry’, the Intervention shows that they haven’t followed through with making sure their actions reflect this important gesture.’

National Sorry Day is on Thursday 26th of May – The slogan for this years event is ‘SORRY. Still Living On Borrowed Time’.

For further information contact NAAJA Media Contact Bonita Liddle on 08 89 82 5124