|February 7th, 2008||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: JUDEAware, originally MassaJEWsetts
|February 7th, 2008||#2|
Join Date: Nov 2007
Re: Rabbis back apology to Aborigines
100,000 what a load of crap, try 25,000 at most and of those 13,000 are still alive and they would be looking at the precedent set by the Bruce Trevorrow case for the amount of compensation they would be seeking. Trevorrow was awarded $775,000 so times that by 13,000 and you have how much ($10,075,000,000) it will cost us the taxpayer. Going by that amount every person in Australia (approx 21,000,000) is up for $479 in extra tax or each taxpayer of which there are 12,000,000 is up for $839.58! The GST will have to be increased to pay for it. BTW, legal costs have not been included and if you include that in the figures times them by a factor of at least two. The legal profession are rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of all of the money they are going to steal from hardworking Australians.
|February 12th, 2008||#3|
Australia to Apologize to Aborigines
By ROHAN SULLIVAN – 56 minutes ago
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Aborigines organized breakfast barbecues in Outback communities, giant TV screens went up in state capitals, and schools planned assemblies so students can watch the telecast of Australia's government apologizing for policies that degraded its indigenous people.
As Parliment convened Wednesday, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Prime put forth a motion asking lawmakers to formally apologize for past policies that "inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss" on Australia's indigenous people.
A vote was due to take place on the motion soon after it was read by Rudd, and was certain to pass because it has the support of the government and the major opposition parties.
Aborigines remain the country's poorest and most disadvantaged group, and Rudd has made improving their lives one of his government's top priorities.
As part of that campaign, Aborigines were invited for the first time to give a traditional welcome Tuesday at the official opening of the Parliament session — symbolic recognition that the land on which the capital was built was taken from Aborigines without compensation.
The apology is directed at tens of thousands of Aborigines who were forcibly taken from their families as children under now abandoned assimilation policies.
"We apologize for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians," the apology motion says.
"To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
"And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry."
The apology, which was certain to be passed since both Rudd's governing Labor Party and the main opposition parties support it, ends years of divisive debate and a decade of refusals by the previous conservative government that lost November's elections.
It places Australia among a handful of nations that have offered official apologies to oppressed minorities, including Canada's 1998 apology to its native peoples, South Africa's 1992 expression of regret for apartheid and the U.S. Congress' 1988 law apologizing to Japanese-Americans for their internment during World War II.
The reading of Australia's apology and the parliamentary vote was being broadcast nationally, and people across the country made plans for communal watching, from the Outback breakfasts to the school assemblies.
Giant television screens were erected outside Parliament House in Canberra for hundreds of people who could not fit inside. Screens were also set up in parks and other public places in Sydney and other state capitals.
Rudd's motion offered "a new page in the history of our great continent" and "a future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again."
Aborigines lived mostly as hunter-gatherers for tens of thousands of years before British colonial settlers landed at what is now Sydney in 1788.
Today, there are about 450,000 Aborigines in Australia's population of 21 million. They are the country's poorest group, with the highest rates of jailing, unemployment and illiteracy. Their life expectancy is 17 years shorter than other Australians.
The debate about an apology was spurred by a government inquiry into policies that from 1910 until the 1970s resulted in 100,000 mostly mixed-blood Aboriginal children being taken from their parents under state and federal laws based on a premise that Aborigines were dying out.
Most were deeply traumatized by the loss of their families and culture, the inquiry concluded, naming them the "Stolen Generations." Its 1997 report recommended a formal apology and reparations for the victims.
Rudd ruled out compensation — a stance that helped secure support for the apology among the many Australians who believe they should not be held responsible for past policies, no matter how flawed.
He pledges instead to lift the living standards of all Aborigines, and on Tuesday outlined bold targets for cutting infant mortality, illiteracy and early death rates among indigenous people within a decade.
Aboriginal leaders generally welcomed Rudd's apology, though some said it was empty rhetoric without addressing the issue of compensation.
Noel Pearson, a respected Aborigine leader from Queensland state, wrote in The Australian newspaper on Tuesday that offering an apology without compensation meant: "Blackfellas will get the words, the whitefellas keep the money."
Marcia Langton, an Aborigine academic at the University of Melbourne, also said the question of compensation must be addressed, but celebrated the apology as a huge step forward.
"I think that it's impossible to feel any kind of cynicism at all, if you can understand how much it means to people who have lived through these events and been removed from their families," she told Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Michael Mansell, spokesman for the rights group the National Aboriginal Alliance, said the word "sorry" was one that "Stolen Generation members will be very relieved is finally being used."
Mansell, who has urged the government to establish an $880 million compensation fund, said he still hoped Rudd would be open to the idea.
Bob Brown, leader of the minority Greens party, said he would try to have Rudd's motion amended in the Senate to include a commitment to paying compensation. But the amendment was likely to be rejected by majority parties, and Brown said he would not pursue it further.
Tony Abbott, the indigenous affairs spokesman for the main opposition coalition, said his bloc had reversed its previous objection to the apology in part because Rudd promised there would be no compensation.
"As far as the opposition is concerned, this apology creates no new rights or entitlements. We are guaranteed that by the prime minister," Abbott said.
|February 12th, 2008||#4|
Nelson comments draw indigenous anger
Ben Packham with AAP
February 13, 2008 09:57am
ABORIGINAL Australia finally received the apology it was waiting for this morning, but comments made by Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson were not so well received.
Inside Parliament House, members of the stolen generation wept as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered the Sorry motion.
Outside, a huge crowd - including hundreds of Aboriginal people - stood silently as the apology was read.
However, after Mr Rudd's speech, there was anger at Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson's comments that many children were removed "with the best of intentions".
The sentence sparked outrage in the crowd outside Parliament House, with many people booing and most turning their backs to the screens showing proceedings. "Shame Brendan, shame," was cried out.
The statement was also poorly recieved among the crowd gathered in Melbourne's Federation Square, with many turning their backs and verbal abuse being hurled at the screens.
The historic apology recognised the "profound grief, suffering and loss" suffered by the stolen generation and Aboriginal people in general.
"The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future," Mr Rudd told Parliament.
The words "we say sorry" were uttered three times by Mr Rudd during the motion, which lasted only a few minutes.
Afterwards, in a new spirit of bi-partisanship, Mr Rudd also proposed a joint policy commission to look at housing and constitutional recognition for Aboriginal people.
The commission would be jointly chaired by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
“The mood is for us politicians to move beyond our infantile bickering," said Mr Rudd, "and put this Parliament in the rare position of being beyond the partisan divide.”
Inside the Parliament, 100 members of the stolen generation, or their descendents, witnessed the landmark apology, which was supported by the Liberal and National parties.
The apology made no mention of compensation, but said it was a "first step" toward healing past wrongs.
The landmark motion follows years of pleading from indigenous leaders, and fierce resistance by the Howard Government.
Mr Rudd told the story of an elderly indigenous woman, part of the stolen generation, who he visited a few days ago.
"An elegant, eloquent and wonderful woman in her 80s full of life, full of funny stories despite what has happened in her life's journey,'' the Prime Minister said.
Mr Rudd said his friend told him of the love and warmth she felt while growing up with her family in an Aboriginal community just outside Tennant Creek.
In the early 1930s, at the age of four, she remembers being taken away by "the welfare men''.
"Her family had feared that day and had dug holes in the creek bank where the children could run and hide,'' Mr Rudd said.
They brought a truck, two white men and an Aboriginal stockman who found the hiding children and herded them into the truck.
She remembered her mother clinging onto the side of the truck, with tears flowing down her cheeks as it drove off.
She never saw her mother again.
After living in Alice Springs for a "few years'', Government policy changed and the young girl was handed over to the missions.
"The kids were simply told to line up in three lines ... those on the left were told they had become Catholics, those in the middle, Methodist and those on the right, Church of England,'' Mr Rudd said.
"That's how the complex questions of post-reformation theology were resolved in the Australian outback in the 1930s.
"It was as crude as that.''
She didn't leave the island mission until she was 16 when she went to Darwin to work as a "domestic''.
When the Prime Minister asked his friend what of her story she wanted told she answered: "All mothers are important.''
"Families, keeping them together is very important, it's a good thing that you are surrounded by love and that love is passed down the generations - that's what gives you happiness.''
This was just one of tens of thousands of stories of forced separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, Mr Rudd said.
"There is something terribly primal about these first-hand accounts, the pain is searing, it screams from the pages, the hurt, the humiliation, the degradation and the sheer brutality of the act of physically separating a mother from her children is a deep assault on our senses and on our most elemental humanity,'' he said.
Mr Rudd said the stories "cry out'' to be heard and "cry out'' for an apology.
"Instead from the nation's Parliament there has been a stony and stubborn and deafening silence for more than a decade.
"A view that somehow we the Parliament should suspend our most basic instincts of what is right and what is wrong, a view that instead we should look for any pretext to push this great wrong to one side to leave it languishing with the historians, the academics and the cultural warriors as if the stolen generations are little more than an interesting sociological phenomenon.
"The stolen generations are not intellectual curiosities, they are human beings, human beings who have been damaged deeply by the decisions of parliaments and governments.
"As of today the time for denial, the time for delay, has at last come to an end.
"The nation is demanding of its political leadership to take us forward.
"Decency, human decency, universal human decency demands that the nation now steps forward to right an historical wrong.''
Mr Rudd said should there still be doubts, the historical record showed that between 1910 and 1970, between 10 and 30 per cent of indigenous children were forcibly taken from their mothers and fathers.
"As a result up to 50,000 children were forcibly taken from their families,'' he said.
"This was a product of the deliberate, calculated policies of the states, as reflected in the explicit powers given to them under statute,'' he said.
"This policy was taken to such extremes by some in administrative authority, that the forced extractions of children of so-called mixed lineage, was seen as part of a broader policy of dealing with, quote, the problem of the Aboriginal population, unquote.''
Mr Rudd said one of the most notorious examples of this approach came from the Northern Territory Protector of Natives, who had 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... will quickly be eliminated by the complete disappearance of the black race and the swift submergence of their progeny in the white.''
Mr Rudd said the WA Protector of Natives had expressed similar views.
While today's formal apology said "sorry'' three times, Mr Rudd's speech also offered his own apologies to the stolen generations.
"As Prime Minister of Australia, I am sorry,'' he said.
"On behalf of the government of Australia, I am sorry.
"On behalf of the parliament of Australia, I am sorry.
"I offer you this apology without qualification.''
Dr Nelson echoed some of Mr Rudd's sentiments, but also emphasised the need to work on problems affecting today's indigenous population.
Dr Nelson said that some Aboriginal people were “living lives of existential aimlessness".
Among the statistics he mentioned were that sexual assault was evident in every single one of the 45 NT Aboriginal communities and that an Aboriginal baby still has only has a one in three chance of living to the age of 65.
Dr Nelson described horrific stories of child abuse within Aboriginal communities and asked the Prime Minister to report to the Parliament regularly about what the Government is doing to help the sad plight of Aboriginal people.
Dr Nelson challenged anyone who thought the Aboriginals had a good deal to visit one of the communities and say they wished they were born there.
|February 12th, 2008||#5|
National Apology: The Kimberley perspective
Last Update: Tuesday, February 12, 2008. 12:43pm AWDT
By Psembi Kinstan
The 13th of February will be remembered as an important day in Australian history. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd officially apologised to all indigenous Australians for the actions of previous governments regarding the stolen generation.
Large numbers of Kimberley children were forcefully removed from their families and taken to missions across Australia or Government run ration stations such as Moola Bulla near Halls Creek.
The Kimberley Stolen Generation Aboriginal Corporation estimates the scale of the removal was so large within the Kimberley that by 1958 about 25 per cent of all Kimberley Aboriginal adults and 45 percent of all Kimberley Aboriginal children were living in missions.
A delegation of Kimberley Aborigines was invited to Parliament house to witness the apology and they spoke to ABC Kimberley before departing from Broome airport.
Derby resident Ruby Rose was one of the many people affected by the stolen generation. She was taken from Alice Springs to Croker Island, then moved to New South Wales then finally returned to Croker Island by boat, “we were the cargo in the boat, the boys were in the first hull, the girls were in the second hull”.
Indigenous leader Mark Bin Bakar sees the apology as the first step in a new process, and believes it will “allow the sore to heal” and allow many Australians to come to terms with the “social experiment”.
“The apology is about reconciliation. The apology is about allowing people to move on, and for people to not have to share and wear the pain themselves anymore”.
|February 12th, 2008||#6|
Australia's Apology to the Stolen Generations
Wednesday February 13, 2008
It's a bloody good piece of writing, it's long overdue, and perhaps it's also one big step closer to our nation eventually saying Thankyou. We wouldn't be who we are as a culture without the influence of Aboriginal peoples and nations from the moment modern Australia insisted on being born of blood. It's a big step for our nation to acknowledge seven decades of cultural genocide. I think that this action tomorrow by Kevin Rudd will ultimately have greater positive effect on domestic relationships and social politics within Australia than ratifying Kyoto has had on our international relationships. Tomorrow will be a real beginning and much more than the token gesture that some would like to reduce it to.
For all you international folks, that's our new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on the left. That's the leader of of the deceptively named Liberal opposition, Brendan Nelson, on the right. Brendan Nelson is an utter spoogemop, while Kevin Rudd is a Cantonese speaking diplomacy-Yoda with balls the size of a goat's head. Oh yeah, the text -
Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.
We reflect on their past mistreatment.
We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.
The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.
We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.
For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.
To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.
We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.
For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.
We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.
A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.
A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.
A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.
A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.
A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.
Check out the coverage at National Indigenous Times, as well as the excellent pre-Sorry Day coverage on the February 12 edition of the 7:30 Report
Posted by Hugh Manatee at 11:53
|February 12th, 2008||#7|
Australia's Aborigines: A Timeline
Published: February 12, 2008
A timeline of key dates and facts about Australia's Aborigines:
_ 1788 — British settlers establish a penal colony in Sydney, leading to skirmishes between the colonialists and local Aboriginal clans. Aborigines are believed to have numbered about 750,000 at the time of settlement and to have inhabited Australia for up to 70,000 years.
_ 1789 — The first cases of smallpox, brought by the settlers, are reported among Aborigines and kill hundreds.
_ 1791 — Officials grant parcels of land around Sydney to convicts who have served their time, beginning years of dispossession of Aborigines that continues as white settlers disperse throughout Australia. Clashes between Aborigines and settlers lead to tens of thousands of deaths among Aborigines and hundreds of settler deaths.
_ Jan. 1, 1901 — The Commonwealth of Australia is formed, but the constitution excludes Aborigines from the national census, leaving them to be considered "fauna."
_ 1910 — State governments introduce policies to remove mixed-blood Aboriginal children from their families, arguing the children would be better off because the race — now estimated at around 60,000 nationally — was doomed to extinction.
_ 1937 — Assimilation of mixed-blood Aborigines — by force if necessary — is adopted as official policy at a meeting of federal and state officials, while Aborigines living a "tribal life" are to stay on reserves.
_ 1967 — In a landmark referendum, Australians vote overwhelmingly in favor of changing the constitution to count Aborigines in the census, effectively granting them voting rights and ending constitutional discrimination.
_ 1970 — The last laws granting authorities wide powers to take Aboriginal children away from their families are abolished, though many Aborigines say statistics show the government is still more likely to take Aboriginal children into foster care than white children for reasons such as abuse.
_1976 — The federal government passes legislation granting Aboriginal ownership to large parts of the Northern Territory, kicking off a new movement to reclaim traditional lands.
_1992 — The highest court rules that Aborigines held a form of ownership to Australia before the settlers arrived, a landmark decision that results in legislative recognition of native title rights over some government-owned lands_ and years of acrimonious debate about the issue.
_1997 — A national inquiry says policies removing Aboriginal children from their parents caused massive trauma to 100,000 children and their families, and recommends the "stolen generation" be compensated. Prime Minister John Howard refuses an official apology, but hundreds of thousands of Australians attend so-called "Sorry Day" events.
_ 2007 — Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is elected, and promises a formal apology to those Aborigines taken from their families on behalf of the government. The apology is due in Parliament on Wednesday.
|February 12th, 2008||#8|
Offensive 'Sorry' email hits in-boxes
By Mark Schliebs
February 12, 2008 04:43pm
AN OFFENSIVE "apology" to the Aboriginal population which caused outrage nearly eight years ago is being distributed online through a flood of emails.
Email in-boxes - including those of media outlets - have been hit by the message entitled the “Australian Apology to the Aborigines/Aboriginal Population”, causing a backlash on message boards across the internet.
The “apology” accuses Aborigines of cannibalism, abusing the welfare and healthcare systems, destroying houses and being unwilling to support themselves financially.
On one forum, a recipient of the message said she was “shocked” when her colleague sent it to their entire office.
“It is just absolutely horrible,” the forum user said. “I'm trying to think of a way to respond to the girl who forwarded it to me.”
“She sent it to the whole office as well… we have a fairly relaxed atmosphere here so people will often send around things that have mildly racist or sexist undertones which most people disregard.”
Threads that contained the full text of the emails have been removed from Yahoo! message boards, but other discussion forums still contained the full version.
On some forums, users have said the “apology” should be sent to the Prime Minister.
But this is not been the first time the text has been circulated.
In 2000, a Rockhampton radio host was suspended from broadcasting after reading the same text from a fax message while on the air.
At the time, the Australian Broadcasting Authority found the transmission: “presented Aboriginal people in a completely negative light and served to reinforce negative stereotypes.”
“Aboriginal people are portrayed as being ignorant, savage, lazy, ungrateful and totally dependent on non-indigenous Australians… the attribution of these behavioural traits to an entire race and their culture amounts to vilification.”
|February 12th, 2008||#9|
AUSTRALIAN APOLOGY TO THE ABORIGINAL POPULATION
We apologise for giving you doctors and free medical care, which allows you to survive and multiply so that you can demand apologies.
We apologise for helping you to read and teaching you the English language, thus opening up to you the entire European civilisation, thought and enterprise.
We feel that we must apologise for building hundreds of homes for you, which you have vandalised and destroyed.
We apologise for giving you law and order which has helped prevent you from slaughtering one another and using the unfortunate for food purposes.
We apologise for developing large farms and properties, which today feed you, where before, you had the benefits of living off the land and starving during droughts.
We apologise for providing you with warm clothing made of fabric to replace the animal skins you used before.
We apologise for building roads and railway tracks between cities and building cars so that you no longer have to walk over harsh terrain.
We apologise for paying off your vehicles when you fail to pay the instalments.
We apologise for giving you free travel anywhere, whenever.
We apologise for giving each and every member of your family $100.00 and free travel to attend an aboriginal funeral.
We apologise for not charging you rent on any lands when white people have to pay.
We apologise for giving you interest free loans. We apologise for developing oil wells and minerals, including gold and diamonds which you never used and had no idea of their value.
We apologise for developing Ayers Rock and Kakadu, and handing them over to you so that you get all the money.
We apologise for allowing taxpayers money to be paid towards a daughters' wedding ($8,000.00 each daughter).
We apologise for giving you $1.7 billion per year for your 250,000 people, which is $48,000.00 per aboriginal man, woman and child.
We apologise for working hard to pay taxes that finance your welfare, medical care, education, etc to the tune of $1.2 billion each year.
We apologise for you having to approach the aboriginal affairs department to verify the above figures.
For the trouble you will have identifying the "uncle toms" in your own community who are getting richer and leaving some of you living in squalor and poverty. We do apologise.
We really do.
We are only too happy to take back all the above and return you to the paradise of the "outback", whenever you are ready.
[South Africa's version of the apology]
The following email is typical of those circulated freely among white ex-"supremacists" in South Africa. It is hateful and pathetic in tone; certainly written by a "dumb white kid" mourning the loss of that era which so many hang on to as a better past. SHAME ON THEM. - so says Guardian lib reader
Creed of the white kid
We are sorry that our ancestors were intelligent, advanced and daring
enough to explore the wild oceans to discover new countries and to
conquer and develop these.
We are sorry that those who came before us took you out of the bush and
taught you that there was more to life than beating drums and chasing
animals with sticks and stones.
We are sorry that they planned, funded and developed roads, towns,
mines, factories, airports, all of which you now claim to be your long deprived
inheritance so you have full right to change and rename these at your
We are sorry that our parents taught us the value of small but strong
families, to not breed like rabbits and end up as underfed, illiterate
shack dwellers living in poverty.
We are sorry that when they provided you with schools, you decided it
looked better without windows or in piles of ashes. We happily gave up
those bad days of getting spanked in our all white schools for doing
something wrong, and much prefer these days of freedom where problems
can be resolved with knives and guns.
We are sorry that it is hard to shake off the bitterness of the past
when you keep on raping, torturing and killing our friends and family
members, and then hide behind the fence of "human rights" with smiles on
We are sorry that we do not trust the government. We have no reason to
be so suspicious and short sighted seeing that there has never been a
case where any of these poor hard working intellectuals were involved in
any form of corruption or irregularities.
We are sorry that we do not trust the police force and although they
have openly admitted that they have lost the war against crime and
criminals, we should not be so negative and just keep on hoping for the
We are sorry that we basically flung open our border posts, and now left
you competing for jobs against illegal immigrants from our beautiful
neighbouring countries. All these countries that have grown so strong
after kicking out the "settlers", you should follow their excellent
example and grow big and strong like them!
We are sorry that we don't believe in witchcraft, beetroot and garlic,
urinating on street corners or trading woman for cattle, maybe we just
grew up differently. So sorry that when we are forced into sharing the
same establishments, sometimes we loose our temper, that is totally
We are sorry that your medical care, water supplies, roads, and your
electrical supplies are going down the toilet because skilled people who
could have planned and resolved these issues had to be turned away
because they were of the wrong ethnic background and now have to work in
foreign countries where their skills are more needed.
We are so sorry and should really try harder to be more tolerant and
learn to get along with EVERYBODY around us, one big happy family.
The Dumb White Kid
Last edited by Alex Linder; March 1st, 2008 at 05:44 PM.
|February 13th, 2008||#10|
Jews behind Australian apology to Abo monkeys
SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) -- In what could be described as Australia's
Yom Kippur, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd expressed Wednesday the one word
his predecessors refused to utter to indigenous Australians: Sorry.
Rudd's Labor Party wrested power from John Howard's Liberals Last
November on a platform that included apologizing to the "Stolen
Generations" -- up to 100,000 mostly mixed-blood Aboriginal children
who were forcibly removed from their families between 1910 and 1970.
The text of the motion on the Stolen Generations, which won bipartisan
support, acknowledged the "profound grief, suffering and loss"
inflicted on Aborigines.
Australian Jews, some of whom have been at the forefront of the
decades-long reconciliation effort, applauded the apology. "To the
mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the
breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry," Rudd said.
"And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud
people and a proud culture, we say sorry." In a historic speech that
drew cheers and tears, Rudd said he hoped the apology would remove "a
great stain from the nation's soul." Mark Leibler, the co-chair of
Reconciliation Australia, a national organization that promotes
reconciliation, said Rudd's apology marked a "watershed" in Australian
history but that this should be just the beginning of the
"The shame as far as this country is concerned will not be cleared up
until we bridge the 17-year gap in the life expectancy between
indigenous and non-indigenous Australians," said Leibler, who attended
the apology ceremony in Canberra on Wednesday. Leibler is also the
chairman of the world board of trustees of Keren Hayesod/United Israel
Appeal and national chairman of the Australia/Israel and Jewish
Affairs Council. "We've suffered 2,000 years of persecution, and we
understand what it is to be the underdog and to suffer from
disadvantage," he said. Jews have been at the forefront of pushing for
civil rights in Australia.
In 1965, Jim Spigelman, a cousin of the Pulitzer Prize-winning
cartoonist Art Spiegelman and now chief justice of the Supreme Court
of New South Wales, led 30 students on the first Australian Freedom
Ride -- a journey into Outback Australia to protest racial
discrimination against Aborigines, who were not entitled to vote and
were prohibited from swimming pools, pubs and other public places. In
the country town of Moree, a racist mob attacked the students and,
according to newspaper reports at the time, Spigelman was smacked to
the ground. The man most Jews and Aborigines hail as having made the
greatest contribution to the cause of Aboriginal rights is Ron Castan,
a Jewish Australian dubbed by Aboriginal leaders as the "great white
Castan, who died in 1999, was the lead counsel in the landmark 1992
Australian Supreme Court "Mabo judgment" -- named for plaintiff Eddie
Mabo -- which overturned the legal fiction that Australia was "terra
nullius," or an uninhabited land, when white settlers first arrived in
1788. Aborigines now own more than 10 percent of Australia's land
mass.In a 1998 speech, Castan implored the government to say it was
sorry, citing Holocaust denial in his argument. "The refusal to
apologize for dispossession, for massacres and for the theft of
children is the Australian equivalent of the Holocaust deniers --
those who say it never really happened," Castan charged.
In 1999, Howard proposed a motion expressing "deep and sincere regret"
for the injustices suffered by Aborigines, but the then-prime minister
said Australians "should not be required to accept guilt and blame"
for the policies of previous governments.
Aborigines number about 450,000 in an Australian population of 21
million. They are the most disadvantaged group in Australia, suffering
high rates of infant mortality, unemployment, alcohol abuse and
domestic violence. More than 100 members of the Stolen Generations
were present at Wednesday's ceremony, which was broadcast live on
national television and on giant screens across the country. "Our
faith teaches and emphasizes the universal principles of coexistence
and respect for human dignity and rights," Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick,
the president of the Organization of Rabbis of Australia, said in a
statement. "It teaches the need to recognize and rectify any failings
we may display in our interaction between our fellow man. To say
'sorry' in a meaningful manner goes a long way in ensuring that
mistakes and discrimination will not be repeated."
In addition to their activism on Aboriginal issues, Jews were
instrumental in leading the crusade against the White Australia
Policy, a series of laws from 1901 to 1973 that restricted non-white
immigration to Australia. The president of the Executive Council of
Australian Jewry, Robert Goot, said he is proud of the Jewish
community's ongoing commitment to reconciliation. Rudd's apology
marked "the beginning in a new chapter in the quest by indigenous
Australians for complete equality with their fellow Australians," Goot
observed. Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence of the Great Synagogue in Sydney said
in a speech on reconciliation last week that Jews must not "deny nor
stand by nor stand silent in the face of the pain of the Stolen
Generations. It is incumbent on us to acknowledge the wrong, to
apologize for the damage caused."
Noting the importance to Jews of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in
Jerusalem, the British-born rabbi said Australia should have a similar
institution for Aborigines. "There ought to be a national place where
people who have suffered can come and identify with their past and
understand that the incursion of their culture and heritage has been
recognized and an apology has been made," he said. Rudd's apology
comes more than a decade after a 1997 inquiry in Australia's
parliament, called the "Bringing Them Home" report, concluded that the
Aborigines suffered "an act of genocide aimed at wiping out indigenous
families, communities and cultures." The report urged the government
to apologize and offer compensation to the victims and their families.
The apology offers no recourse to compensation, although the issue is
now being hotly debated. It also reignited the so-called "history
wars" between those who believe the Stolen Generations were kidnapped
in a sinister attempt to breed out their Aboriginality and others who
say it was a benevolent attempt to save half-caste children from the
ills of Aboriginal society.
|February 15th, 2008||#11|
Radio callers outraged: I'm disgusted, says one
February 14, 2008
WHETHER you call them the ignored majority or the ignorant few, it took only a mouse click and a quick flick of the radio dial to discover that many Australians did not welcome Kevin Rudd's apology yesterday.
The words "We are sorry" from the Prime Minister sent talkback switchboards and internet servers into meltdown, as thousands rang or clicked in to register their disagreement and in some cases disgust at the new direction their leaders had taken. Calls and commentary on the Sydney radio stations 2GB and 2UE led the charge, with callers describing the morning's events as "political correctness gone mad" and asking why it was an apology for "them and not us".
"I'm disgusted … he [Rudd] makes out that we've done nothing but destroy this country," one caller to Alan Jones said.
"Is he ashamed that we defended this nation against Japan? Will he say 'sorry' to the people who died defending this nation in the wars? What about them?" Jones himself espoused the view of history made famous by historians such as Keith Windschuttle. "Yes, there was a piece of nonsense and obnoxious policy in Western Australia in 1936. But over 99 per cent of them were untouched by this political stupidity," Jones said. "… Many of the children who were taken were welfare cases … they were malnourished and mistreated."
Mr Windschuttle accused Mr Rudd of inconsistency.
"An apology without reparations is not a genuine apology for a crime of this dimension. It is a mere public relations exercise. Mr Rudd will soon find that, rather than his apology ending grievance over this issue, all he has done is reignite it."
Long after the well of talkback calls had begun to dry up, the tide of online dissent on the issue of compensation continued.
"Why is it that white (non-indigenous) children struggle to get assistance with schooling whereas children of the same age with Aboriginal blood are now asking for compensation?" Joanne from Adelaide asked on Ninemsn.com.au.
In one online poll 36 per cent were in favour of the apology and 64 per cent against, while another had the number at 44 in favour to 56 opposed. "It shows that the average Australian in the street is not in favour of what our leaders are doing," the leader of the Australia First Party, Dr Jim Saleam, said. "We were not responsible for these policies - we weren't even there. I think most people see that simple logic."
|February 15th, 2008||#12|
[As soon as the formal apology is made, the demands for reparations come...]
The 'Chookie Dancers', an aboriginal dance group from Elcho Island in the Northern Territory of Australia during a ceremony for Aborigines arriving In Canberra for an Apology To The Stolen Generations on February 11, 2008 in Canberra, Australia. (Andrew Sheargold/ Getty Images)
Aborigines Plan to Sue After Australia Issues Historic Apology for Racist Policies
By ROD McGUIRK Associated Press Writer
CANBERRA, Australia Feb 15, 2008 (AP)
Representatives for Australian Aborigines confirmed plans Friday to launch the first compensation lawsuits since a landmark government apology earlier this week for past abuses.
The cases, details of which were not released because they had not yet been filed, would be the first since Parliament formally apologized Wednesday to tens of thousands of Aborigines who were taken from their families as children under now discredited assimilation policies.
An activist and a lawyer representing some members of the so-called "Stolen Generations" of Aborigines said Friday as many as 40 compensation claims were being prepared in Victoria state.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has ruled out setting up a compensation fund for victims of the policies, which lasted from 1910 until the 1970s, and legal experts say the apology does not strengthen chances of compensation being won through the courts.
Several cases have been filed in the past but most have failed. Lawyers say proving the harm inflicted by the policies in a legal sense is extremely difficult.
"The legal landscape is no different to what it was yesterday or will be tomorrow," said Hugh Macken, president of the New South Wales state Law Society, said in response to Wednesday's apology.
Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard reiterated Friday that the government would not offer compensation to head off court action.
"We have said no to compensation," Gillard told Fairfax Radio Network.
State governments have taken a similar stance, fighting compensation claims that have been lodged in the courts.
Lawyer Jack Rush said he was representing Aborigine Neville Austin, but declined to discuss specifics of the case. Austin also declined to comment.
A newspaper reported Friday that Austin intends to sue the state of Victoria for unspecified damages, alleging he was taken by authorities in 1964 from a hospital where he had been admitted as a 5-month-old baby with a chest infection.
He then lived in foster homes and orphanages until he turned 18, the Herald Sun newspaper reported.
His cousin, Lyn Austin, head of the state advocacy group Stolen Generations Victoria, told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that dozens of lawsuits were pending.
An estimated 100,000 children were forcibly taken from their parents in an effort to make them grow up like white Australians.
Aborigine Bruce Trevorrow was awarded $700,000 in damages and interest this month from the South Australia state government. He was taken from a hospital without his parents' knowledge 50 years ago.
Australia's smallest state, Tasmania, is the only government to establish a compensation fund for Aborigines.
The state government announced last month it had paid 84 forcibly removed children and 22 of their descendants.
There are now about 450,000 Aborigines in Australia's population of 21 million. They are the country's poorest group, with the highest rates of unemployment and illiteracy. Their life expectancy is 17 years shorter than that of other Australians.
Last edited by Alex Linder; February 15th, 2008 at 07:19 PM.
|February 16th, 2008||#14|
Discussion of The Apology in second hour of
Radio Istina, February 14, 2008
|February 18th, 2008||#15|
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: JUDEAware, originally MassaJEWsetts
Could there be an Aboriginal or Jewish PM?
STAN MARKS BLOG (FEBRUARY 18, 2007)
IN some ways I felt personally involved in the "sorry" by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last week to Australian Aborigines.
The prime ministerís statement reminded me of my involvement over many years, and recently, with our indigenous people.
I have written much about Aborigines, including a suggestion that maybe now we can look forward to an Aboriginal prime minister or cabinet minister.
I wondered about the possibility as I watched the proceedings on television from Canberra.
And what about a Jewish PM or one as deputy to an Aboriginal leader?
I recalled the time that Aborigines visited the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Elsternwick (which is on Aboriginal land) as I had suggested as a member of the board to commemorate when a group of Victorian Aborigines in 1938 presented a letter to the German Consul to be sent to Hitler, protesting at how the Jews had been treated on Kristallnacht and generally in Germany.
They were among the few people worldwide to protest at what was happening to Germany's Jews.
A plaque at the Jewish Holocaust Centre recalls this protest. They pulled no punches, and as reported in The Age and Argus at the time, called on Hitler to stop actions against all Jews.
I have written a children's book (published in London and New York) about Aborigines and have also begun to revise a play I had workshopped in Melbourne around the theme of Aborigines claiming a park.
Titled This Land Is Mine, it was highly praised by actor-producer-writer Graeme Blundell, who described the play as "a substantial and rich work".
But, events overtook it, Marbo among them. My revision brings in what happened this week and a stronger Jewish link.
Last week's events have shown that a potential Aboriginal or Jewish PM could happen.
After all, we have had Jewish governor-generals, so why not a prime minister? It made me think a great deal about Jewish-Aboriginal ties and our future together. Is there a common link, however small?
And what about the very word "sorry" in the context of what happened to Jews over thousands of years.
|February 21st, 2008||#16|
John Roughan: Stolen generations story a distortion of history
5:00AM Saturday February 16, 2008
By John Roughan
When you see history being written you realise how much of it is mere legend.
Australia hasn't got a particularly exciting history. Once you've read past the convicts it becomes quiet and constitutional.
The closest they came to a civil convulsion was a goldfields rebellion by drunken Irish miners, much celebrated today at the "Eureka Stockade", that lasted all of a Sunday morning in 1853.
They have nothing like the colonial wars in this country.
The displacement of Australia's ancient pre-colonial population was a largely private, casual and dimly recorded atrocity. It haunts the country's story rather than leaving a catalogue of battles that could be mythologised today.
So they have invented a legend from living memory. By "they" I do not mean only Aboriginal revivalists. The "stolen generations" story, now carrying the official imprimatur of this week's Federal Government apology, is as much a creation of white authors, journalists, film-makers, scholars and even jurists freed from the need of forensic proof.
Just about everybody now believes that as recently as the 1950s Aboriginal children were being dragged from the arms of clutching parents by cold-hearted agents of the state for purposes that could not be good.
I would believe it too if I hadn't read a paper delivered by a Melbourne lawyer, Douglas Meagher, QC, to a seminar in 2000.
His suspicions of the stolen generation story had been aroused when reading the 1997 report of an inquiry by a fellow jurist, Sir Ronald Wilson.
Meagher, whose father was in the state government, was surprised by a reference to someone he had known quite well. He found it impossible to believe this person, a highly respected Aborigine who ran a holiday project in Melbourne for children from northern mission stations, would have been associated with a scheme the Wilson Report said was designed never to return the children.
His curiosity kindled, he studied the report for the evidence. The accusation turned out to be based on a woman, identified by a number, who said that when in Melbourne on the holiday scheme she was billeted with people who applied to adopt her. Which they did, the report said, without reference to her parents.
But 56 pages later, the same witness mentions that while she was in Melbourne her mother had died and, a few sentences later, that her father had died too. The report glosses over the fact that she had become an orphan, noting heavily, "She never saw her parents again."
Meagher gave several other examples of policies and practices at the time that have been grossly misinterpreted for the stolen generations story. The report treats children as "stolen" even when they were state wards rescued from abuse or neglect.
He went on to act for the Commonwealth in a court case brought by former mission children in the Northern Territory after the Wilson Report called their treatment "a crime against humanity".
The trial was devastating for the stolen generations tale. Far from being kidnapped, the evidence showed that many in the mission hostels had been placed there by their parents and went home for holidays. The exceptions were child welfare placements, subject to court orders from 1953.
The hostels had Aborigines on their staff. Parents, relatives and tribal elders freely visited. When the children grew up many exchanged Christmas cards with staff and happily attended reunions. In fact, the litigants were to be seen embracing the now elderly mission sisters and reminiscing happily outside the court.
These people had a typical 1950s education, lacking today's cultural sensitivity. That's bad enough if you believe constant cultural connections to be essential but it probably fails to outrage you. Hence the hype. Ever the lawyer, Meagher was reluctant to say the distortions were wilful. But they are, I suspect. They are a symptom of a late 20th century intellectual disease called post-modernism.
Post-modernism holds that nothing can be known for certain, that anything is valid if enough people need to believe it.
Post-modernism does not do history, it does 'histories". Writers don't have to verify what they are told, they are saluted for enabling the downtrodden to tell their stories.
But authors of the stolen generations seem to have generously egged the pudding. Witnesses in the Northern Territory case could not confirm some of the lurid tales publications attributed to them.
When post-modern social propagandists use terms like "stolen" most people take them literally. Feature writers, documentary makers and film directors read polemical studies of "stolen generations" and imagine G-men in fedoras descending on remote communities.
But if Australia feels better that a Prime Minister has said sorry, does it matter? Aborigines deserve an apology for worse. It's tough on the reputations of well-meaning people now mostly dead, but that's history. It will be corrected sometime.
|December 17th, 2008||#17|
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Top End Australia