Today Kevin Rudd did a good thing. I was going to call it a wonderful thing, but really, it’s just the right thing. And the fact that we had to wait until 2008 for an apology is outrageous. But he did it, and he did it well. And my opinion of him as a man has been raised, I feel proud to call myself an Australian again, after years of shame under the Howard government.
But who the hell is Brendan Nelson to bang on about the first fleet, and how ALL Australians have contributed to our nation. Today is not the day Dr Nelson. And mentioning that “good was meant to be done” is bullshit, it diminishes the impact of what needs to be said.
So I shouldn’t be surprised that these words are coming from the man who said yesterday that if Kevin Rudd wanted to negotiate the terms of the apology, he should be talking to him, as the most important person.
He says that compensation should not be given, and then talks about sexual abuse of Aboriginal children, without taking responsibility for the breakdown of culture which caused this issue. He wants to create another stolen generation in the name of protection.
I am not an expert in Aboriginal issues – I am actually pretty ignorant. Which is disgraceful, as the area in which I grew had a proud Aboriginal history. Yet, I was nearly 20 when I met an indigenous Australian for the first time.
I have travelled to New Zealand, and though most Kiwi’s wouldn’t necessarily think that they have got the issue 100% right, they have a much better grip on fair and equitable treatment. We have a lot to learn, and a long way to go. And accepting that white Australia has stuffed up is the important first step to fixing it.