Tag Archives: stolen generation

Commission Says Sorry Day Still Needs to Be Marked

Monday 18 May 2009

Sorry (Tony Albert)

Sorry (Tony Albert)

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Catholics to continue to commemorate National Sorry Day on 26 May.

National Sorry Day has been marked on this day each year since the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s Bringing Them Home Report was handed to the Federal Government in 1997.

The report details the Commission’s findings from an inquiry into the policy of forcible removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities over much of the twentieth century.

The Day precedes National Reconciliation Week which runs from the anniversary of the 1967 referendum on May 27 when Indigenous people were recognized as citizens and the anniversary of the High Court’s recognition of native title in the Mabo Case on 3 June.

The Brisbane Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that Indigenous people place great importance on National Sorry Day because it gives them an opportunity to remember the grief and loss they have suffered as a result of the policy.

“Despite the momentous apology of the Federal Parliament to members of the Stolen Generations on 13 February 2008, there is still much healing to be done,” Mr Arndt said.

“There is still much pain and trauma for many Aboriginal people because of this practice,” he said.

“The Federal Government recognized this fact when they announced the establishment of a Stolen Generations Healing Foundation on the first anniversary of the apology this year,” he said.

“There will be a number of National Sorry Day ceremonies at Bringing Them Home Plaques around Brisbane and at various locations in South-East Queensland on the day and we would encourage Catholics to join with Indigenous people in remembering the pain and making commitments to be a part of the healing process,” he said.

“We would also hope that parishes and schools around the Archdiocese will mark the day in some way,” he said.

“Despite the apology, there is still a lot of ignorance about the forcible removal policies and this must be addressed,” he said.

“The Bringing Them Home Home Report recommended education about the practice in schools and for a range of professionals who work with Indigenous people,” he said.

“We cannot come to terms with the on-going effects of the trauma of forcible removal unless we know the history,” he said.

“Teachers, police, lawyers, social workers, doctors and nurses all need to know what happened so they can understand why there are problems for some Indigenous people,” he said.

“We ask Catholics to read summaries of the Bringing Them Home Report and look at its recommendations,” he said.

“When you read the recommendations, it becomes very clear that there is still so much more that needs to be done,” he said.

“We must also keep asking Governments why they reject recommendations that affected people receive reparations payments,” he said.

“The Tasmanian Government has established a standard for the Federal Government and other State and Territory Governments in making reparations payments to members of the Stolen Generations a couple of years ago,” he said.

“We should all be asking the Federal Government and our own Queensland Government to follow Tasmania’s example,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Commission Calls For Action On Unfinished Business

Monday 26 May 2008

Peter Arndt with Sorry Day Plaque

Commission Calls For Action On Unfinished Business

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission called on Catholics to acquaint themselves with the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home Report on the forcible removal of Indigenous Children from their families and communities in the Twentieth Century and to be active in promoting the implementation of all the Report’s fifty-four recommendations.

The call is being made on National Sorry Day, a day which the Report recommended be set aside each year for remembrance of all those whose lives were affected by this policy.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the Federal Parliament’s apology to members of the Stolen Generations on 13 February this year ensured that one of the Report’s recommendations was finally implemented, but that most of the 1997 Report’s recommendations have not been acted on by Government.

“The apology is a very important step in the journey of healing, but there is much more to be done before we can close the book on this sorry chapter in our history,” Mr Arndt said.

“This is the tenth year on which National Sorry Day has been marked and Christians should be at the forefront of efforts to challenge our Federal Government to deal directly with the Report’s unfinished business,” he said.

“Funds have been put into family reunion services over the last ten years, but there is still so much to do in terms of community education and reparations,” he said.

“We hope that Catholic parishes and schools continue to mark National Sorry Day on 26 May, National Reconciliation Week from 27 May to 3 June and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday on the first Sunday each year with prayer and rituals because this is an important way of remembering the hurt and injustice of the past and the present,” he said.

“But our prayers and rituals will not mean as much if we do not also try to take action to bring healing,” he said.

“There are many resources available for people to learn more about the issues involved and we encourage Catholics to use them to become acquainted with the story of the Stolen Generations and the Report’s recommendations,” he said.

“The National Sorry Day Committee has also provided a variety of opportunities for individuals, schools and parishes to take action to get all the Report’s recommendations implemented,” he said.

“The Committee suggests that people adopt one of the recommendations and work hard to convince our leaders to implement it,” he said.

The National Sorry Day Committee’s resources are available on its web site.

“Over the next ten years, it would be wonderful if Christians around Australia played a significant part in bringing healing to the many indigenous Australians affected by this unjust policy of the past,” Mr Arndt said.

“We hope that Christians can be inspired by the impact of this year’s apology and find ways to shine the healing light of Christ’s love on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.