Sorry

February 13th, 2008

I watched the opening of Parliament this morning, and the speeches by Rudd and Nelson. Like lots of others I was moved by the occasion, and hopeful that we as a nation can finally make good on the spirit of reconciliation. Rudd’s speech was the best I’ve seen from him, and the promise of co-operation on this issue was inspiring. Nelson was rather defensive, but much of this was probably necessary to secure the unanimous vote in favour of the motion, and his willingness to participate in a joint effort with the government is welcome. Bob Hawke, Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser and Paul Keating were all present.

Hard though it was to get to this point, that was the easy bit. It’s going to take a lot of resources, and a willingness to ignore ideological shibboleths of all kinds, if we are to achieve the kinds of improvements in health, education and general living standards promised today by Rudd and Nelson.

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  1. Hal9000
    February 16th, 2008 at 09:19 | #1

    Thanks, Ian. Quite right, things have improved, albeit slowly, and it’s important to note that to counter the suggestion that policies since Billy McMahon appointed the first Minister for Aboriginal Affairs have only made things worse.

    The two conjoined myths propounded by the Paddy McGuinnesses of this country are that 1) indigenous Australians were better off pre-1970 and 2) throwing money at the problem won’t fix it.

    Myth 1) is both demonstrably false and eerily reminiscent of the American mythology about the antebellum South. Gerard Henderson, in between sulking about his sound feed, was running this line on Lateline Wednesday night regarding the equal pay decision of 1969 in a failed attempt to move discussion onto ground of his choosing. His point was to try to equate the removal policy (an evil policy with evil goals) with equal pay (a good policy with some evil consequences that governments failed to address or, as in Queensland, deliberately compounded).

    Myth 2) can’t be falsified on the basis of empirical evidence because it’s never been tried.

  2. John Greenfield
    February 16th, 2008 at 16:57 | #2

    SATP

    A token apology is fine, but any suggestion of financial compensation will be a bridge too far for the electorate. Rudd knows this.

    In which case, Rudd should have made an entirely different apology. I am sorry, but the hypocrisy of the Luvvies over not demanding a multi-billion compensation package is breathtaking.

    Rudd REALLY screwed up in his speech when he claimed

    let the parliament reflect for a moment on the following facts: that, between 1910 and 1970, between 10 and 30 per cent of Indigenous children were forcibly taken from their mothers and fathers; that, as a result, up to 50,000 children were forcibly taken from their families; that this was the product of the deliberate, calculated policies of the state as reflected in the explicit powers given to them under statute.

    This is an accusation of procedural impropriety, which means LEGAL culpability. As I said, the government cannot apologise and refuse compensation.

    All of these people and their families have every right to demand HUGE compensation. The Prime Minister has told the entire country the governments committed horrible crimes. What figure justice? $20 billion? $30 billion?

    The Luvviesphere has been an incessant champion of Bringing Them Home, quoting it chapter and verse as though it were The Constitution or the Corporations Act and laying explicit legal and moral culpability on the officials and state of the time. The word “genocide” is flung around like confetti in its legal, historical, and moral senses. The Luvvies have gone into meltdown over Nelson’s more nuanced and factual reply.

    Rudd could not have been clearer in endorsing Bringing Them Home as fact. Indigenous groups and leaders across the nation are demanding compensation.

    If The Luvvies are not prepared/brave enough and lack the integrity to attack these Aboriginals as “vicious� and “shameful� then their whole campaign over the past few years has been a fraud and they are hypocritess. It is time for The Luvvies either to step up or to apologise to likes of Keith Windschuttle and shut up.

    This is only the beginning. “Compensation” will become the new “Apology.”

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