Opposition spokesman for Indigenous affairs, Tony Abbott, has admitted publicly for the first time that the Coalition made a mistake by refusing to apologise to Australia’s Indigenous population.
The former prime minister, John Howard, repeatedly defended his decision not to say sorry to Aboriginal people during his 11 years in power and criticised the Federal Government’s historic apology to the Stolen Generations last year.
Addressing a social services forum in Sydney, Mr Abbott was applauded when he publicly admitted the Coalition should have said sorry while in government.
“It was a mistake for us not to apologise to Aboriginal people,” he said as the crowd applauded.
“And I’m pleased when Kevin Rudd did decide to apologise that he was strongly supported by the Coalition.”
He was speaking as the Government officially adopted the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples at a ceremony in Parliament House, reversing the decision of the previous Government who voted against it in 2007.
What I’m not clear on is whether Abbott is implying that they should have done it as a vote winning political move, or they should have done it because its the moral thing to do. For the rest of the article goes on to say that the Opposition are declaring the Government’s decision to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, a “grave error”.
What I am clear about is that the ABC News comments thread is proving to be excellent blog fodder. While a few commentators shared a reaction akin to mine, some, probably diehard JWH fans, were not happy.
Concerned Aussie: Already the socialist ALP party is dragging this once great country to the far-left, so much so that we have right-thinking politicians like Abbott succumbing to the do-gooder mentality.
Tony Porter: Dear Tony,
You and I were not in OZ when the stolen generation debacle happen so don’t apologize but make sure that any help given to the indigenous or part indigenous people at this time will not come back and bite our descendants on the bum.
regret: Whats wrong with you Tony Abbott? Why do you have to rehash the past? I admired John Howard for his stance on this issue, its a pity the rest of the govt. at the time didnt get behind Mr Howard and explain that he was right in his wording.
(Do I even live in the same country as ‘concerned aussie’?) On the, most assuredly slim, basis of a comparison between the reaction to this story and the reaction to the story about a report the lifetime earnings gap between men and women, it seems that misogyny‘s more acceptable than racism, in terms of how people comment.