By Caitlin Brown
On 10th December 1992, Paul Keating challenged Australians’ to create racial equality through mutual understanding. For the first time in Australian history, he encouraged the nation to empathise and reconcile with Indigenous Australians. However, with the “Redfern Speech” remaining one of the most progressive speeches in Australian History, there was one key element that was missing – an apology.
The absence of the word ‘sorry’ created a political evasion of responsibility for past injustices. However, on 13th February 2008, more than a decade later, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd offered a formal apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples, in particular those victims of the Stolen Generations and all other Indigenous Australians who were systematically excluded as a result of government policy.
As a result, 13th February now marks a day where all Australians are able to encourage and contribute to reconciliation by remembering the injustices of the past, celebrating reconciliation efforts to this point and, in harmony, working towards racial coexistence and equality.