Today is National Sorry Day, a day when we honour the traditional custodians of our land and stop to acknowledge the hurt and suffering created by past government practices.
This acknowledgement is especially meaningful today as we commemorate 20 years since the release of the seminal Bringing Them Home report.
Bringing Them Home resulted from the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families, an inquiry that brought the terrible circumstances of the Stolen Generations to the awareness of the broader Australian community.
I deeply respect those people who have bravely shared the traumatic experience of being taken from family, culture and traditional lands.
How we treat and respect each other is a reflection of the type of society we are. We need to be truthful about the past and learn more about what has happened through the stories of the Stolen Generations and their families.
We need to continue to educate ourselves and in doing so, we can become a more compassionate and understanding society which will go towards reconciling the past and building a better future for all Australians.
The Stolen Generations and their families and communities continue their journey of healing. Organisations including Link Ups, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care are to be commended for the work they do to support families and communities.
In particular, I would like to thank the Healing Foundation for its work to commemorate 20 years since the Bringing Them Home report was released and for its new report – An Action Plan for Healing – which charts a way forward to meet the initial intent of the Bringing Them Home report.
On this National Sorry Day, we honour the original report writers and story-tellers and look to the future for how to best support the changing needs of the Stolen Generations, their families and descendants.