SPEECH – National Sorry Day
CANBERRA – 26 May, 2021
I had to stop and check the date when I realised it had been four years since the Uluru Statement from the Heart was delivered.
And what have we seen from this Government? Nothing.
Four years of postponing making a decision on a very modest ask: that we acknowledge the truth and history of this country.
But there’s still no sign of a referendum on constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians.
The seat of Solomon is on Larrakia land, and my friend Richie Fejo is the Chair of the Larrakia Aboriginal Corporation.
His father is Larrakia, but his mother Nanna “Nungala” Fejo Is a member of the Stolen Generation, taken from her Tennant Creek country.
It took her almost fifty years to be able to finally reunite with her family.
Her story was told by Kevin Rudd in his apology back in 2008.
Well, today’s national Sorry day.
Indigenous Territorians are dying while waiting for compensation for the abuses they suffered while in the Commonwealth’s enforced care, such as those at the Retta Dixon Home in Darwin.
The Commonwealth is yet to step in as a funder of last resort to compensate those survivors, since the Department of Social Services rejected Australian Indigenous Ministries from joining the national redress scheme because it doubted AIM’s capacity to pay out claims.
Those survivors deserve a lot more than just a “sorry”.
And Australia needs to do so much better by them.
And we need to do it now.