Apology will touch hearts of Aboriginals

PROMINENT figures within the local Aboriginal community have voiced their support for the federal government’s decision to make a formal%apology for the stolen generations. The national apology is set to take place on February 13, one day after the opening of the parliamentary term. Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council chairman Russell Logan said it was a significant step for our country towards reconciliation. “It’s a great move from the federal government,” Mr Logan said. “It is a positive step and a lot of Aboriginal people are going to benefit out of it.” Prime Minister Kevin Rudd this week ruled out any financial compensation for victims of the stolen generation, but Mr Logan argues it is the act of apologising which holds the meaning, and it was never about monetary compensation. “I don’t think people realise how big it is for the Aboriginal people,” he said. “It’s nothing to do with compensation. Part of healing is having the pain acknowledged, and sometimes all you need is words.” Mr Logan said the gesture was not about the government accepting responsibility for the actions of others, but rather expressing their sorrow that the policy of removing children from their families happened. “I’ve always said it’s not the federal government of today or the Howard government that is responsible,” Mr%Logan said. “We can express our sorrow, but that doesn’t make us liable.” Tweed Shire Council’s Aboriginal Liaison Officer Lesley Mye is also supporting the government’s decision, saying “only good things” could come from a national apology. “Kevin Rudd is going to get so much respect from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for this,” she said. “It’s making a big statement, and a lot of change will come from this.” Ms Mye said, despite the views of some critics, she agreed with the gov- ernment giving the apology priority and tackling it early in the parliamentary term. “It should have happened years ago,” she said. “It’s a stepping stone towards the%future and big things will come from this. “It will go down in my diary as one of the days to remember and look back on.”



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