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 Post subject: A sorry debate
PostPosted: 29.01.2008, 15:20 
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Looks like even a simple "Sorry" is asking for too much from the Australian public when it comes to the crimes against the Stolen Generation.

Sad, but true.

A sorry debate
by Amy McQuire

One of Australia’s most prolific 24-hour news services – Sky News – ran a poll on whether the federal government should apologize to the Stolen Generations yesterday.

Although I do not have the final results, the polls findings were constant throughout the day. And they were hardly surprising, with a clear majority of participants voting that they didn’t believe there was a need for an apology.

Although television polls are far from accurate, there is still that undercurrent in Australian society who adamantly oppose saying sorry.

But what about overseas? What does the international community think of Australia?

The Malaysia Sun yesterday ran a short story surrounding Australian newspaper reports that Kevin Rudd would make an apology on February 12th, the first sitting of the new federal parliament.

Quote:
“The Australian government has said it will make a formal apology to Aborigines for centuries of discrimination,” The Malaysian Sun kicked their story off with.

“…The previous government had always refused to apologise to aborigines.”

“Aborigines make up only 2 percent of the Australian population and often live far below the poverty line.

“Until the 1970’s, aboriginal children were forcibly adopted by white families, with the objective of integrating them into society.”


The story was open for comment.

Quote:
Too Late Nazis said :
Quote:
“U.S.A , aUSTRALIA, CANADA,NEW ZEALAND ARE THE ONLY FOUR COUNTIRES STILL VETOING THE RIGHTS OF NATIVE PEOPLE AT THE U.N WHOM THEY ARE OPRESSING. WHAT GOOD IS AN APOLOGY FROM NAZIS!”


But Big L said:
Quote:
“Never Say Sorry, Unless It’s Really Your Fault. Or You Could End Up In A Law Court Paying Out A Lot Of Other People’s Money.”


The Canadian Press also ran a story, pointing out in their first paragraph that the announcement of a formal apology came on “…a holiday weekend honouring the arrival of the first British settlers”.

Quote:
“In 1997, a government-commissioned inquiry into the practice of removing children from Aboriginal mothers to force them to assimilate with white Australians recommended that the federal parliament apologize to the so-called Stolen Generation.

But former Prime Minister John Howard refused, arguing that contemporary Australians were not responsible for past policies.

Rudd made his remarks as Australians celebrated a three-day weekend in honour of Australia Day, a national holiday celebrating the arrival of the first fleet of settlers, mostly British convicts, in the Sydney region on Jan. 26, 1788.

Many Aborigines call it “Invasion Day” and regard it as a day of mourning because the British colonized Australia without the agreement of its indigenous inhabitants.”


The People’s Daily Online, in China, also ran a story, acknowledging again what Australia Day really meant.

In Australia, while debate raged over whether a sorry should go ahead, or whether Aboriginal people stolen from their families had the right to compensation, media decided that giving space to Invasion and Survival commemorations was unnecessary.

Well actually, that’s not entirely true. On a recent crawl through media archives, I found that the only Aboriginal protest that actually drew attention was one down in Tasmania.

You could argue that that was because Tasmania is a little ahead of the rest of the country on Aboriginal issues, especially in regards to their compensation fund for Stolen Generations victims. But sadly, that was not the reason.

Yet another Aboriginal activist had burnt an Australian flag and of course, debate raged.

ABC Online reports:

Quote:
A Tasmanian Aborigine has reignited the national debate about flag burning, after an Australia Day protest in Launceston yesterday.
About 100 Aborigines from across Tasmania rallied in Launceston’s City Park against what they call “Invasion Day”.
After the speeches, Adam Thompson stepped from the crowd and burnt the Australian flag with a cigarette lighter, to cheers from the crowd.

The Australian National Flag Association’s Reg Watson has branded the act “despicable”, calling on the Federal Government to make it illegal.
“Until it is an offence this type of vandalism will continually happen,” he said.

“Those people that burnt our sacred symbol, national symbol, should be prosecuted for that offence.

“It’s an outrageous offence and I think it would in anyone’s estimation, an act of disgust, and I’m absolutely appalled that they’ve taken that position.”


The story attracted 94 comments.

Whether it was right to burn the Aussie flag or not, the fact that the only way an Aboriginal protest gets up in the media is because a protestor is being portrayed as “deviant” is a sad reflection on the nation.

It’s almost as sad as the debate we are currently having about whether an apology is necessary.

I hope the international community continues to scrutinise Australia and our position on Indigenous rights because our own community is doing very little of the same thing.


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PostPosted: 30.01.2008, 10:24 
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Joined: 20.03.2006, 10:41
Posts: 1503
Location: UK
New movements with this issue it seems!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-p ... 216873.stm


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