Apology to the Indigenous people of Australia
[ The University of Melbourne Voice Vol. 2, No. 2
18 February - 3 March 2008 ]
Last week Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a National Apology to the Stolen Generations. The University recognised this important national event with a University statement of apology to the Indigenous people of Australia.
The University also marked the event by flying the Aboriginal flag from the Arts Clocktower, Indigenous staff joined Apology events and, across the University, many groups of staff and students watched the telecast of the Prime Minister’s National Apology to the Stolen Generations.
To the Indigenous people of Australia
From the University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne, established on the traditional land of the Kulin nation, is a community that aspires to participate in the creation of a diverse and harmonious nation. Our aim is to bring greater benefits to the Indigenous people of Australia through education and research, and to do so by involving Indigenous people in those endeavours. On behalf of the University of Melbourne –
• The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original inhabitants of the continent;
• Recognise their loss of land, children, health and kin, and the erosion of their languages, culture and lore and the manifold impacts of colonisation; and
• Australia will only become a mature nation when the past is acknowledged, so that the present can be understood and the future confidently based on the mutual recognition of aspirations and rights.
The University records its deep regrets for the injustices suffered by the Indigenous people of Australia as a result of European settlement.
On behalf of the University of Melbourne, I join with other Australians, led by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Kevin Rudd, to say a heartfelt ‘sorry’ to the Stolen Generations and their families and to all Indigenous Australians who have suffered the hurt and harm caused by the forced removal of children and families and its effect on the human dignity and spirit of Indigenous Australians.
The University also acknowledges and sincerely regrets any past wrongs carried out in the name of the University which have caused distress to Indigenous Australians.
The University is committed to using the expertise and resources of its teaching and learning, research and knowledge transfer activities to make a sustained contribution to lifting the health, education and living standards of Indigenous Australians. As an institution we aim to produce the highest quality outcomes in all aspects of our academic endeavour – from the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to building our cohort of Indigenous academic and professional staff. To this end we hope to contribute to realising Indigenous aspirations and safe-guarding the ancient and rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage.
The University joins with all Australians who see in Parliament’s recognition and apology a decisive moment in our nation’s progress. In justice is the hope of reconciliation, in acknowledging the past the hope of the future.