Additional comments by the Liberal Senators
Liberal Senators agree with the majority report's consideration of the
evidence, and support the majority report's conclusions and recommendations.
Liberal Senators also express their strong support for the national apology
given by the Federal Parliament on 13 February 2008.
However, Liberal Senators wish to make some additional comments in
relation to use of the term 'stolen generation', not only in the majority
report but also in a broader context. In essence, Liberal Senators query the use
of the term 'stolen generation' which they consider implies that past policies
of separation of Indigenous children from their families involved, in all cases,
forcible removal undertaken with dubious motive.
In this context, Liberal Senators wish to emphasise an important point
made by the Opposition Leader, the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MP, in his speech in
support of the apology motion on 13 February 2008. In his speech, Dr Nelson
In some cases, government policies evolved from the belief that
the Aboriginal race would not survive and should be assimilated; in others, the
conviction was that 'half-caste' children in particular should, for their own
protection, be removed to government and church run institutions where conditions
reflected the standards of the day. Others were placed with white families
whose kindness motivated them to the belief that rescued children deserved a
Our responsibility, every one of us, is to understand what
happened here, why it happened, the impact it had not only on those who were
removed, but also those who did the removing and supported it.
Our generation does not own these actions, nor should it feel
guilt for what was done in many, but not all cases, with the best of intentions.
But in saying we are sorry – and deeply so – we remind ourselves that each
generation lives in ignorance of the long term consequences of its decisions
and actions. Even when motivated by inherent humanity and decency to reach out
to the dispossessed in extreme adversity, our actions can have unintended
outcomes. As such, many decent Australians are hurt by accusations of theft in
relation to their good intentions.
Liberal Senators strongly endorse Dr Nelson's comments.
|Senator Guy Barnett
|| Senator Mary Jo Fisher
|Senator Russell Trood
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