26th May is National Sorry Day/ National Day of Healing
On this day in 1997 the “Bringing Them Home” Report was tabled in Parliament.
One of the many recommendations of this report was that the Prime Minister apologise to the Stolen Generations. Then current Prime Minister John Howard refused to do so.
On 26 May 1998, the first National Sorry Day was held to remember and acknowledge the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were, and continue to be, impacted and a part of the Stolen Generations.
Each year the annual commemorations are intended to raise awareness among politicians, policy makers, and the wider public about the forcible removal policies and their impact on the children who were taken, their families and their communities.
In 2005, the National Sorry Day Committee renamed the day as the National Day of Healing, with the motion tabled in Parliament by Senator Aden Ridgeway. In his words, “the day will focus on the healing needed throughout Australian society if we are to achieve reconciliation”.
On 13 February 2008 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly to the Stolen Generations whose lives had been blighted by past government policies of forced child removal and assimilation.
Today, National Sorry Day/ National Day of Healing is a day to acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generations survivors and reflect on how all Australians can play a part in the healing for the people and nation.
We extend our respect to the Stolen Generations and acknowledge the strength and resilience of all survivors, their families and their communities.
There is still much work to be done.