Putting apology into practice

I congratulate our Prime Minister. This is the second apology that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has offered, the first being to the Aboriginal Stolen Generations. As a citizen of Australia I am very grateful for his leadership in working for reconciliation within our national life. 

KEVIN Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull yesterday offered a historic apology to “forgotten Australians” and former child migrants who suffered abuse, exploitation and neglect in institutions and foster homes. …

In delivering the apology, Mr Rudd apologised for an “ugly chapter” in the nation’s history: “Sorry that as children you were taken from your families and placed in institutions where so often you were abused . . . Sorry for the tragedy, the absolute tragedy, of childhoods lost.

See Apology at last for forgotten victims  for the full article by Nicola Berkovic with links to further coverage and a video of the Prime Minister’s address. The Australian 17 November 2009.  

And yet an apology is always a beginning: a beginning to correct that which is wrong. How then to correct our care of children who are genuinely in need of care? A thoughtful Editorial the day following the Prime Minister’s apology stated,

. . . yesterday’s national apology to the “forgotten Australians” and child migrants of earlier generations should not mask the pressing need to improve the care for today’s neglected, abused and abandoned children. The Prime Minister acknowledged as much when he told the “sorry” ceremony in the Great Hall of Parliament House that governments must commit to the auditing, inspection and quality control of their present child protection services. This is a big task — not just because of the pressure on resources and trained personnel but because of the cultural politics which have bedevilled a complex and sensitive area of public policy.

See the full Editorial in The Australian of 17 November 2009, Apology just the Start.


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