The following statement was issued on January 25 by Brisbane Indigenous community leader and Socialist Alliance member Sam Watson for the January 26 Invasion Day commemorations.
This Invasion Day 2008 is the opportunity to commence a major change in the position of Indigenous rights in Australia. The time has come to show proper respect and sensitivity to the Aboriginal stolen generations, and allow a lengthy period so that there can be consultation across the Indigenous communities and all our people are given the opportunity to be involved.
The Reconciliation process was allowed 10 years and substantial resources to be undertaken, so the stolen generations should be given time for proper consideration.
The Rudd Labor government is showing disrespect for our people and our customs by rushing the process of an apology to the stolen generations, in order to serve the larger ALP political agenda. The government wants to make an apology on February 11-12, in order for the matter to be resolved and moved off the front pages of the newspapers, so it can concentrate on its bigger game of being re-elected in 2010.
I propose that there should be a national monument erected in front of Parliament House to honour the victims.
This moment, when the Australian government offers up an apology will become a significant and defining moment in the short history of this nation.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Aboriginal affairs minister Jenny Macklin still haven't made any attempt to meet with the genuine leaders of the Aboriginal community.
We endorse Macklin's decision to close down the National Indigenous Advisory Council, which is only a handful of Howard's puppets. However, the new government now needs to put into practice genuine consultation with the Aboriginal people, in order to make a real apology and to begin to right the wrongs of the past — including offering real compensation to the stolen generations.
We must reject the invasion of the Northern Territory by the previous federal government, and any attempt to extend this intervention to Queensland or other states. We need to seriously challenge black deaths in custody, and continued discrimination against Indigenous people in all areas of society.
We call on the Australian people to mobilise to defend human rights in all sectors of our country, as well as internationally. Australia needs to recognise that the wealth of this society was gained from the stolen land and resources of the Indigenous people.
Now is the time to remember this history by negotiating a treaty to truly recognise the rights of the original people of this country, and to provide fair compensation for the theft of their land and resources.
We call on all supporters of Indigenous rights to rally in Canberra, at the opening of federal parliament on February 12, to defend the interests of the stolen generations and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
[For more information, contact Sam on 0401 227 443; or Paul on 07 3831 2644, or visit