On this day February 13, 2008
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes a historic apology to the Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations.
The Stolen Generations is a term used to describe those children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments.
The removals occurred in the period between approximately 1869 and 1969, although, in some places, children were still being taken in the 1970s.
The extent of the removal of children, and the reasoning behind their removal, are contested. Documentary evidence, such as newspaper articles and reports to parliamentary committees, suggest a range of rationales.
Motivations evident include child protection, beliefs that given their catastrophic population decline post white contact that black people would “die out”, fears of miscegenation and a desire to attain white racial purity.
On 13 February 2008 Rudd fulfilled an election promise to apologize to Indigenous Australians for the stolen generations as the parliament’s first order of business. The apology on behalf of the nation was well received, and most criticisms were of Labor for refusing to provide victims with monetary compensation.
Rudd pledged the government to bridging the gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australian health, education and living conditions, with changes to the narrow negotiation process in resolving native title issues and transparency in indigenous spending.