Australia to Apologize to Aborigines for Past Mistreatment

ASIA PACIFIC

Australia to Apologize to Aborigines for Past Mistreatment
By TIM JOHNSTONJAN. 31, 2008
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SYDNEY, Australia — The new government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says it will apologize for past mistreatment of Australia’s Aboriginal minority when Parliament convenes next month, addressing an issue that has blighted race relations in the country for years.

In a measure of the importance Mr. Rudd attaches to the issue, the apology will be the first item of business for the new government when Parliament meets on Feb. 13, Jenny Macklin, the federal minister for indigenous affairs, said Wednesday.

She said that it was not clear what form the apology would take but that the government would not bow to demands for a fund to compensate those damaged by the policies of past governments.

The history of relations between Australia’s Aboriginal population and the broader population is one of brutality and neglect. Tens of thousands of Aborigines died from disease, war and dispossession in the years after European settlement began in the late 18th century. Aboriginal people were not permitted to vote in national elections until 1962.

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But a policy of placing Aboriginal children with white families or in state institutions to assimilate them is blamed for the most lasting damage.

A comprehensive government-mandated 1997 report estimates that 10 percent to 33 percent of Aboriginal children, the so-called stolen generations, were taken from their homes and families in the century before the policy was formally abandoned in 1969.


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compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

We had Tony Blair who had to apologize for the slavery which happened all those years ago but it did not help..It just opened up a can of worms and caused more controversy!!

I hope the aborigines are more thankful..

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