National Sorry Day | 26 May 2021

May 26, 2021

Today is National Sorry Day.


National Sorry Day has been held in Australia on May 26 since 1998 to remember and acknowledge the mistreatment of our country’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were forcibly removed from their families and communities, those which we now know as ‘The Stolen Generations’.

National Sorry Day acknowledges the strength of Stolen Generations survivors and how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation. While this date carries great significance for the Stolen Generations and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it is also commemorated by Australians right around the country.

We take this opportunity to highlight and reflect on the Apology offered to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia on 13 February 2008, by the then Prime Minister – Kevin Rudd.

Mr Speaker, I move:

That today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.


For more information on National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week 2021 commencing Thursday, 27 May please see here.

For more information on A.G. Coombs Reconciliation Action plan please see here.

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