Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Apology

We listened live on Radio National to the Apology. It was very intense and I wished I was in Australia for this day. A fellow Aussie workmate (called Dave) and I were talking about it the next day and were surprised about the reaction from other colleagues. They were saying what a momentous thing it was and what a pleasure it was to see Australia doing and saying something right instead of sitting on the fence or tapping into the worst qualities of human nature.

Me mate Dave said that for us, the big thing that we remembered at school was the bicentennial. We were given commemorative coins and sang songs and drew pictures of Captain Cook. How fitting it is that this generation will remember the day Australia said sorry and began the process of reconciling the past. I'm still very angry about being taught rubbish history in school. We were never taught about the genocide, the removal of children and its consequences - only that Captain Phillip gave Aboriginal people presents such as blankets in swap for showing them where there was water.

Let's hope that some real gains can now be made in closing the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australian life expectancy and outcomes.

Rudd's speech was beautiful and eloquent. Dr Nelson's speech, and I'm not being partisan here, was disjointed and not thought through properly at all. He should not have personalised it, he should not have told Fay Cooper's story without permission, and using statements such as "Welfare without responsibility" was prevocative and chiding. I think Australians angered by this had every right to turn their backs or clap their hands. I had a friend who was on the lawn at Parliament House and said that this reaction was spontaneous, not predetermined because Nelson was part of the Howard cabinet.

I think it's great that workers were encouraged to participate, watch it live or come into work late that morning, school children watched it in assemblies and people gathered in small tin sheds in Broome to come together to celebrate this new beginning.

In other news...

I'm loving my job at the Red Cross - what a pleasure it is to work in a supportive environment with people passionate about their jobs. I'm off to London today to play with friends on the weekend and go to the British Red Cross UK office to meet my colleagues. I am a much happier person in my new job.

1 comment:

Michael McBlog said...

Hi Ali, What I love is that your blog has a concept that works and is consistent. There are so many that seem poorly conceived. Keep up the good work. MM.