Sixty people rallied outside NSW parliament on the February 12 anniversary of former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s apology in 2007 to the Stolen Generations, to protest against what they say is a continuation of unjust removals of children from Aboriginal families.
From the 1890s to the 1970s, Aboriginal children were taken from their parents and raised by church missions or adopted into other families. Today, NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge told the rally, “there has been a five-fold increase in Aboriginal kids being taken from their parents [since the 1997 Bringing them home report] — and this figure is 10 times higher in NSW.”
About 6000 Aboriginal children are in out-of-home state care, which the NSW minister for Family and community services, Pru Goward, admitted is “too many”.
The rally was addressed by the “Granny’s from Gunnedah”, Aboriginal mothers and grandmothers, and their supporters, who had traveled to Sydney to join the protest. Activists from Brisbane had flown down for the day.
Aunty Hazel, who is from Gunnedah, said: “Rudd’s sorry does not mean anything to us when there is no end in sight. After taking our children, when they turn 18 they come home but it’s so hard to reconcile they have been ripped away from family …
“When they are taken we are unable to pass down our culture or heritage. We want to stop this. We may be small in numbers but united we are strong in voice. We need to be involved in these policies.”