The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia marks the fourth anniversary of the Australian Government’s Apology to the Stolen Generations.

The Stolen Generations (also known as Stolen children) were the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments. The removals occurred in the period between approximately 1869 and 1969, although in some places children were still being taken in the 1970s.

The Society is  calling on the Government to reverse its roll-out of damaging policies such as Compulsory Income Management  and the School Enrolment and Attendance Measure (SEAM).

Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon, said:  ‘The members of the St Vincent de Paul Society were deeply moved by the events of 13th February, 2008. We will never forget the powerful words of the then Prime Minister:

“To the stolen generations, I say the following: as Prime Minister of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf of the government of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf of the parliament of Australia, I am sorry. I offer you this apology without qualification. We apologise for the hurt, the pain and suffering that we, the parliament, have caused you by the laws that previous parliaments have enacted. We apologise for the indignity, the degradation and the humiliation these laws embodied.” ‘

Dr Falzon added: “Neither can we forget the graciousness and generosity of spirit shown by Australia’s First Peoples, including members of the Stolen Generations, in accepting this apology.

“It was a time of deep reflection. Now it is the time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to be able to determine their own futures rather than suffering the indignity and degradation of policies that discriminate against them and take away control over their lives.

“We also continue to be deeply concerned by the disproportionate rate of incarceration of Indigenous Australians, especially the young.”

National President, Anthony Thornton said: “We encourage everyone, including our politicians and policy makers in Canberra, to embrace the spirit of reconciliation so that we can continue on the journey of healing as a nation.”


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