National Sorry Day

Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) (By leave) — I, too, acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today and their elders past and present. As acknowledged, today, 26 May, is National Sorry Day, and it has been chosen to acknowledge the tabling of the Bringing Them Home report back in 1997. Almost 18 years on we reflect on the heartbreaking truths uncovered by that report and the truths that remain unspoken. We say sorry for all that was done. We acknowledge the sorrow and the suffering of the mothers and fathers whose children were torn away by a brutal system that showed no mercy and no compassion. They were forced to endure a legacy of pain, deprived of their land, deprived of their culture, deprived of their identity and deprived of their family — the very things that make us who we are and shape our being.

As a state we continue to support the services that reunite families, that piece together ancestral history and assist those affected on the path towards healing. Having an understanding of your history, knowing who you are and where you came from is fundamental to us all. The continued vibrancy of Aboriginal culture and identity is testament to the strength of that culture and that identity. On Sorry Day we come together to say we are sorry. We apologise and want to share the journey towards reconciliation and to ensuring a better future. Today together we acknowledge all that has happened and all that there is still to do.