Apology is a start — now for justice!

Saturday, February 16, 2008 - 11:00

Five Indigenous activists in the Socialist Alliance share their responses to the Australian parliament's apology to the Stolen Generations on February 13. All five attended the protest against the racist intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, held on the eve of the apology.

Lara Pullin, ACT

"The intervention has to go. Sorry means nothing without an end to the NT intervention.

"Other governments around the world are using the Australian intervention as a model of how to attack their Indigenous people.

"People are not going to accept just "sorry". They want a sorry that means something, a sorry that includes the "c" word that nobody seems to be able to get out, a sorry that does not divide people. We are not going to be divided like that."

Natasha Moore, Perth

"I think it is a start. By apologisng [Kevin Rudd] is acknowledging and recognising the Indigenous people as the first people on this land. I think it will be part of a healing process so other Australians and Aboriginal people can come together and form alliances and partnerships on issues facing communities in the various cities around Australia.

"I think it is just a stepping stone to getting more Indigenous issues addressed.

"For the Stolen Generations, I feel for them. It has been a long time coming and governments have not acknowledged them as being stolen from their families and placed in institutions or foster homes. For them it is very important for those words to be said by our government, but I also think it is only the start of a much bigger process that needs to happen."

Sam Watson, Brisbane

"We are sending a pretty clear message to Mr Rudd and his government: Don't say sorry, say sovereignty.

"He can say sorry tomorrow, and certainly there will be a huge number of senior people and elders in the chamber to receive his apology, but people will also have to note that inside this parliament of Australia there is not one single Aboriginal person. In the House or the Senate. So, again Aboriginal people are hostage to a political system in which we have no control and in which we have no real representation or capacity to influence or exert any pressure."

Lindi Dietzel, Geelong

"I hope it is not hollow and I hope that it gives an answer for a lot of people who have a lot of grief. It is a great place to start but let's see. We'll watch this place."

Jakalene X-treme, Sydney

"It is long overdue, it needs to be done. One of the main things I am concerned with is that they get compensated even though nothing is going to take away the trauma or pain what they've gone through."

From GLW issue 740