The 10th anniversary of National Apology

The 10th anniversary of National Apology

Indigenous Affairs Closing the Gap
Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

A crowd of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people seated looking forward. Two children and a woman hold a white stick with a small Aboriginal flag coloured black on top and red on the bottom with a yellow circle.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this story may contain images of deceased people. 

On 13th February 2008, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples, particularly to the Stolen Generations.

‘Today is an historic day.

It’s the day our leaders – across the political spectrum – have chosen dignity, hope and respect as the guiding principles for the relationship with our first nations’ peoples. Through one direct act, Parliament has acknowledged the existence and the impacts of the past policies and practices of forcibly removing Indigenous children from their families.

And by doing so, has paid respect to the Stolen Generations. For their suffering and their loss. For their resilience. And ultimately, for their dignity.’

The Apology was the first item of business when Parliament opened in 2008, and was witnessed by thousands of people gathered in Canberra, and broadcasted to millions all over the country.

The Apology was provided by the Australian Government in recognition of policies of past governments, and it was significant for the process of healing the wounds of the past and an historic step forward for our nation that we can be proud of.

Professor Tom Calma, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner in 2008, issued a formal response to the Apology.

‘Through one direct act, Parliament has acknowledged the existence and the impacts of the past policies and practices of forcibly removing Indigenous children from their families. And by doing so, has paid respect to the Stolen Generations.  For their suffering and their loss. For their resilience. And ultimately, for their dignity.’

A decade since the National Apology, we acknowledge the significance of this day, and look toward to continuing the reconciliation of Australia as a nation.   

The Australian Government funds a range of practical supports for the members of the Stolen Generations and their families, including counselling, family tracing and reunions wherever possible.

The Australian Government also supports the Healing Foundation to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples overcome traumas using culture as a tool for healing.