One word. Will Aborigines accept it?

It’s finally here; the day most Aboriginal Australians – especially those of the so-called Stolen Generations – have been waiting for for decades. The Australian government under its new administration led by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has finally offered a formal apology to the Aborigine community for policies practiced by past administrations that effectively discriminated against and marginalised the Aborigines.

Under previous prime minister John Howard, who according to the BBC some polls say was backed by 30% of Australians, the administration refused to apologise. However, Mr Howard’s successor as the leader of the Coalition, Mr Brendan Nelson, has broken with tradition and welcomes Mr Rudd’s apology.

But is this enough? Some people still don’t want an apology to have been made – on the BBC’s “Have Your Say” forum, Paul from Australia asks why an apology was made. “Why can’t we move forward, instead of living in the past?”

And even within the Aboriginal community, although the apology has been widely welcomed and seen as far too overdue, some are refusing to accept it without any form of compensation package. The BBC quotes Mr Noel Pearson, an Aboriginal leader, as saying that while his people will get the words, “the whitefellas keep the money”.

With people still opposing an apology, there may never truly be a final settlement over this. If there is, it probably won’t come any time soon.


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