Monday 12 February 2018

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar joined members of the Stolen Generations in Adelaide today, to mark the 10th anniversary of the national apology.

Speaking at the event hosted by Reconciliation South Australia, Commissioner Oscar said the 2008 apology was a momentous occasion that marked one significant point in a long and continuing journey.

“All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have been affected by this period of Australia’s history. 

“The Stolen Generations was a process that systematically attempted to erase both our Indigenous personhood, and nationhood, and in doing so it severely diminished our human rights. The removal of our children was an attack on our very existence.

Commissioner Oscar commended jurisdictions that have introduced reparation schemes, but re-iterated her call for a national scheme.

The national apology and reparation scheme, including financial compensation, were key recommendations of the 2007 'Bringing Them Home' report into the forced removal of Indigenous children from their families.

“We do not make amends simply by saying sorry, we must act on the words. Achieving justice when grave injustices have been done is complex, challenging and extremely hard work, which can never be left partially complete.

“What we are dealing with is a national tragedy and a need for nation-wide reconciliation and healing. We cannot move forward with a patchwork approach. We must have a federal approach to settlement that tells a greater narrative of nationhood.

“When we speak from a position of nationhood we tell a complete story. The legacy of the Stolen Generations is not a South Australian issue, or a Victorian or New South Wales one, it has left a dark shadow from history across the entire continent. Therefore, it demands national restitution,” Commissioner Oscar said.

You can read Commissioner June Oscar's full speech here