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Kevin Rudd, Australian PM, said to Parliament on February 13, 2008, the following:|
"The nation is demanding of its political leadership to take us forward. Decency, human decency, universal human decency, demands that the nation now step forward to right a historical wrong. That is what we are doing in this place today. But should there still be doubts as to why we must now act, let the parliament reflect for a moment on the following facts: that, between 1910 and 1970, between 10 and 30 per cent of Indigenous children were forcibly taken from their mothers and fathers; that, as a result, up to 50,000 children were forcibly taken from their families; that this was the product of the deliberate, calculated policies of the state as reflected in the explicit powers given to them under statute; that this policy was taken to such extremes by some in administrative authority that the forced extractions of children of so-called ‘mixed lineage’ were seen as part of a broader policy of dealing with ‘the problem of the Aboriginal population’.
One of the most notorious examples of this approach was from the Northern Territory Protector of Natives, who stated:
Generally by the fifth and invariably by the sixth generation, all native characteristics of the Australian aborigine are eradicated. The problem of our half-castes — to quote the Protector — will quickly be eliminated by the complete disappearance of the black race, and the swift submergence of their progeny in the white ...
The Western Australian Protector of Natives expressed not dissimilar views, expounding them at length in Canberra in 1937 at the first national conference on Indigenous affairs that brought together the Commonwealth and state protectors of natives. These are uncomfortable things to be brought out into the light. They are not pleasant. They are profoundly disturbing. But we must acknowledge these facts if we are to deal once and for all with the argument that the policy of generic forced separation was somehow well motivated, justified by its historical context and, as a result, unworthy of any apology today.
Then we come to the argument of intergenerational responsibility, also used by some to argue against giving an apology today. But let us remember the fact that the forced removal of Aboriginal children was happening as late as the early 1970s. The 1970s is not exactly a point in remote antiquity. There are still serving members of this parliament who were first elected to this place in the early 1970s. It is well within the adult memory span of many of us. The uncomfortable truth for us all is that the parliaments of the nation, individually and collectively, enacted statutes and delegated authority under those statutes that made the forced removal of children on racial grounds fully lawful."
There are 450,000 aborigines among Australia's 21 million population. There is no law mandating reparations to them because of difficulty proving their claims. Now, Rudd is better than Howard, who refused to apologize at all on the theory that even if he inherited the wealth of his forefathers who took the land from the aborigines, he does not inherit their debts to the estates of the aborigines. Frankly speaking, all of Australia belongs to the natives. How about awarding a Rio Tinto to the natives as a token replacement of some of their losses? A half a dozen of Darwin Stubby or six of Bundaberg Bundy will not do.