Date: 
Thursday 26 May 2011

Aboriginal lady holding the Aboriginal flag

 

Sorry Day alone is not enough

Australians should remember the grief, sorrow and ultimate resilience experienced by members of the Stolen Generations on Sorry Day (26 May), Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda said.

Mr Gooda said this year’s theme, SORRY. Still Living On Borrowed Time!” was a stark reminder of the fact that more needs to be done to help Stolen Generations members overcome the trauma of the past.

“The National Apology to members of the Stolen Generations was absolutely a critical step in the healing process, but it is not the end,” Commissioner Gooda said.

“It will take time and commitment for the tragic legacy of this to be overcome.

“But we need a commitment backed by a reparations package that provides monetary compensation, guarantees against repetition and provides restitution and rehabilitation to the Stolen Generations,” he said.

Commissioner Gooda said most of the Stolen Generations members are elders and aging leaving limited time in which to act.

“While national Sorry Day is an important part of this process, the much harder task is to back this up with action,” he said.

“In 2011, we’re on the threshold of a referendum recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution.

“My hope is that we seize this mood for change, and the new found respect that comes with it, to finally deliver a reparations package for the Stolen Generations that is realistic and practical.”

He said Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week, which runs from tomorrow until 3 June, should provide the impetus needed to deliver on this and help Australia move forward as a truly reconciled nation.

Information on National Reconciliation Week can be found at: www.reconciliation.org.au/home/get-involved/events/national-reconciliation-week