Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 21, 2023


National Apology to the Stolen Generations

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (14:36): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister please inform the council on commemorations to mark the 15th anniversary of the national apology to the stolen generations?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:36): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in this area. Last Monday, I had the privilege to attend and speak at the 15th anniversary of the national apology held in Veale Park. I was pleased to be joined by the shadow minister in another place, the member for Heysen, Josh Teague, for that event.

It is a very important event and holds a special meaning to many in our Aboriginal community. It is sometimes hard to reflect and believe it has been 15 years since the then Prime Minister, the Hon. Kevin Rudd, delivered the national apology to members of the stolen generations. It was certainly a momentous day right around the country. In Adelaide I can remember joining members of the stolen generations in Elder Park, where the apology was played directly on a big screen. It was certainly a moving and poignant event for so many members of the stolen generations right around Australia who heard the apology in real time coming from Canberra.

This apology day event, commemorating 15 years since the apology, was an opportunity not only to reflect on that time but also a place where community members can come together and discuss and engage in healing and reconciliation. There were many members who walked from Victoria Square to Veale Park and many activities throughout the morning and afternoon.

The event commenced with a smoking ceremony, a Welcome to Country from Uncle Ivan Copley and entertainment from musician Nathan May, and the Tjarutja Dance Company entertained those who gathered. There was a community barbecue, Ngangkari healers, face painting, over 22 stalls and also a personal message on the big screen last Monday from Kevin Rudd.

The apology day was hosted and organised by Nunkuwarrin Yunti with assistance from Reconciliation SA, the Aboriginal Sobriety Group, Aboriginal Family Support Services, the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council, Baptist Care SA, Life Without Barriers, Relationships Australia, Centacare, Uniting Communities and the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement and proudly sponsored by the City of Adelaide and the Healing Foundation.

Similar commemorations were held across the country, including at Parliament House in Canberra. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who were involved in organising and all who attended this very important community event.