A bit of plagarism but worth saying (Andrew Bolt is probably the leading Australian Conservative Writers, son of immigrants and bane of the touchy feely left in Australia)
By Andrew Bolt
February 08, 2008 04:25am
Article from: Herald Sun
IT'S over, and all I can do now is offer a sincere sorry of my own.
You see, no matter what, a sorry to the "stolen generations" will be read out in Parliament next week by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Rudd will say that sorry to "stolen" children no one can actually find,
but few commentators and politicians seem to mind. Or care to notice.
Most Liberals, cowed and cringing, will just back whatever Rudd says. Most journalists, teary over their own goodness, will praise it. And most Australians will sigh with relief, hoping a bit of well-meaning humbuggery will let us "move on".
So it's over. The only thing I can hope for now is that if Rudd must read out an apology, he reads out a compromise like mine.
What has divided us so far is that Rudd is a sentimentalist who wants to say sorry regardless of the facts about the "stolen generations". But I am a rationalist who can only say a sorry that respects the truth - and no apology I've read, including the ones on this page yesterday, comes close.
Mine does - not that I have much hope that even this last appeal to reason will work.
To Rudd and other Say-Sorries it simply doesn't matter that there's no evidence any Australian government had a policy to steal children just because they were Aboriginal.
See the evidence they've ignored.
In Victoria, for instance, the state Stolen Generations Taskforce
concluded there had been "no formal policy for removing children". Ever.
In the Northern Territory, the Federal Court found no sign of "any policy of removal of part-Aboriginal children such as that alleged".
In Tasmania, the Stolen Generations Alliance admitted "there were no removal policies as such".
In South Australia, the Supreme Court last year found no government policy to steal Aboriginal children there, either. Rather, stealing black children had been "without legal authority, beyond power and contrary to authoritative legal advice".
But none of that evidence matters to Rudd.
Nor does it matter that no one has yet named even 10 of these 100,000 children we are told were stolen - stolen not because we wanted to save children in trouble, but because we wanted to "keep White Australia pure", as "stolen generations" author Prof Robert Manne put it.
Name just 10, I asked Manne in debates in print and on stage. He couldn't.
Name just 10, I asked Stolen Generations Alliance spokesman Brian Butler last week on Adelaide radio. He wouldn't.
Name just 10, I now ask the Prime Minister. He won't.
Even the Liberals, now desperate to seem more "compassionate", seem to know they will be saying sorry for a great crime that never happened.
Here is Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson, urging Rudd only to not say "stolen": "(I)t has pejorative connotations particularly for several
generations of very good men and women from churches and other organisations who believed they were doing the right thing in removing these children."
But if these people really did steal Aboriginal children from good homes just to smash their culture and "keep White Australia pure", how on earth could they be "very good men and women"? That's like condemning slavery while praising slavers as "very good men" who only meant well.
But not even that matters. Rudd's apology is happening and all I can hope is that he can still hear a little voice telling him he has a duty to truth, and to the Aboriginal children today who will suffer if he lies.
Because suffer they will. Already we read almost monthly of Aboriginal children who are bashed, raped or killed because social workers and magistrates are too scared by the "stolen generations" to "steal" them.
So, what is my own apology?
No apology can do us good, dividing us by race and suffocating us with victimhood. But mine, I hope, can avoid most harm.
My sorry will acknowledge that many Aboriginal children were indeed betrayed by their walk-away parents, white and black, and even by some institutions pledged to help them.
But my sorry won't make our children ashamed for a society that still offers us all - Aborigines included - more freedom, health, justice and security than any before.
My sorry will also have one other great virtue you'll see in almost none of the dozens of others suggested.
Mine, at least, will tell no lies.
That is because I have done what few others will: I have checked the
histories of scores of the "stolen" children asking for this sorry, to
see what it is we should be sorry for.
I've asked, for instance, why I'd say sorry to Lowitja O'Donoghue, the Stolen Generations Alliance's co-patron.
O'Donoghue in fact was dumped at a children's home by her footloose Irish father, to be educated by missionaries.
For what should I say sorry to Peter Gunner, who sought compensation in the Federal Court for being "stolen"?
Gunner, in fact, was sent to a home in Alice Springs with the written
permission of his mother, to get a schooling.
For what should I say sorry to Topsy, named by Manne as a "stolen" child?
Topsy, in fact, was just 12 when she was found, riddled with syphilis and far from hospitals, schools or police, with her parents unknown.
For what should I say sorry to Mary Hooker, another Stolen Generations Alliance spokeswoman?
Hooker, in fact, was removed with three of her 11 siblings because welfare officers thought she was neglected and "I was raped by my brother".
For what should I say sorry to Lorna Cubillo, who claimed compensation?
Cubillo, in fact, was just seven, with no parents or even known guardian when she was found at a missionary-run ration camp in the bush, and sent to a home and school in Darwin.
For what should I say sorry to Molly, portrayed in Rabbit Proof Fence as a girl stolen to "breed out the colour"?
Molly in fact was taken into care with the agreement of her tribal chief after warnings that she was in danger of sexual abuse and had been ostracised as a half-caste by her tribe.
For what should I say sorry to Archie Roach, famous for his song Took the Children Away?
Roach, in fact, said yesterday he was removed when he was three because "word got around" he was neglected -- his parents weren't there, and his sister was trying to care for him.
For what should I say sorry to all the "stolen children" like these -
activist Robert Riley, whose mother dumped him at a home; author Mudrooroo Narogin, who turned out to be neither stolen nor Aboriginal; claimant Joy Williams, whose mother gave away her illegitimate girl; bureaucrat Charlie Perkins, whose mother asked a boarding school to help her gifted boy; an "stolen generations" leader Annette Peardon, whose mother was jailed for three months for neglecting her children.
And here's the sorry I say to them:
What makes us Australians helps make us human. As Australians, we believe in the dignity of each person, regardless of their race or place of birth, of their colour or creed.
We believe that no one is a stranger to us, beyond our sympathy and our help. And we believe it is in offering such sympathy and help that we best realise our humanity.
But we are sorry. We are sorry that at times we have not as a nation, or as individuals, lived up to those ideals. We are but human, and, as all humans do, have failed and fail still.
As a nation, we are sorry for those children that we harmed, when we meant to help. We are sorry that in helping many, we did not help all.
We have failed at other times as well. We are sorry for having taken, when we could have shared. We are sorry we have treated some as strangers, when in truth this is their sacred home.
But we are a people whose sins are small when set beside our virtues, which are great.
We have as a nation desired to do good, just as we desire it now.
We therefore commit ourselves anew to the purpose with which this nation was founded - to give every citizen the right and opportunity to live their life in peace, honour and freedom, under laws common to us all.
But more - we recommit ourselves, today especially, to our young, our lost, our helpless and our poor. They will not find us wanting as some have found us wanting before. This will be the measure of our repentance.
For our failings we are sorry. But for our ideals we are not. What has
divided us can be overcome, and with the goodwill that compels us to say sorry today, overcome we surely will.