Australia since Federation Defining Moments, 1901–present
Investigation 4: The development of Australian democracy and equality: Indigenous rights
4.7 2008 A national apology
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In 2008 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made an apology in the House of Representatives in Canberra. Thousands of people gathered around Parliament House. Millions of people watched it live on television.
The apology was to all the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who had been harmed as part of the Stolen Generations.
An investigation in 1995 had published a report called Bringing Them Home. This investigation found that thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children had been removed from their families during the twentieth century. This was supposed to be for their welfare but many of them suffered emotional and physical abuse in the places they were sent.
Many children lost their families, their Aboriginal culture and their language. Many were permanently harmed by their removal and continue to suffer the emotional, physical and social effects of the removal.
The Prime Minister apologised to all those affected on behalf of all Australians.