Motion of apology
On 13 February 2008 the Prime Minister moved a motion of apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples. The motion was on notice, and seconded by the Leader of the Opposition, standing orders having been suspended to permit the Prime Minister to speak for an unspecified period of time, and for the Leader of the Opposition to speak for an equivalent time. Following these speeches Members signified their support for the motion by rising in their places. After a pause in proceedings debate was adjourned, the resumption of debate was referred to the Main Committee (now Federation Chamber) and the sitting was suspended. Later, Members stood in silence as a mark of support in the Main Committee when the motion was referred back to the House, and again when the question was put and agreed to in the House.
On 16 November 2009, following a speech of apology by the Prime Minister to an audience in the Great Hall, a Minister moved, by leave, ‘That the House support the apology given on this day by the Prime Minister, on behalf of the nation, to the Forgotten Australians and former child migrants in the following terms … ’. Members signified support for the motion by rising in their places when debate in the House was initially adjourned, and also, following further debate in the Main Committee (now Federation Chamber), when the question was later put and agreed to in the House.
On 26 November 2012 the Minister for Defence delivered an apology on behalf of the Government to people subjected to sexual or other forms of abuse in the Australian Defence Force by way of a ministerial statement.
On 21 March 2013, following a speech of apology by the Prime Minister to an audience in the Great Hall, the House debated the motion moved by the Attorney-General ‘That the House support the apology given earlier today by the Prime Minister to people affected by forced adoption and removal policies and practices in the following terms … ’. This motion having lapsed on the dissolution of the House, at the start of the following Parliament the terms of the apology were moved as a motion and agreed to without further debate.