Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations


This year marks the 10th anniversary of the national apology to the Stolen Generations by the Australia Government. The members of the Stolen Generations will, together or individually, reflect on this moment in Australia's history when on 13 February 2008 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology to Australia's Indigenous peoples, particularly to the Stolen Generations whose lives had been blighted by past government policies of forced child removal and Indigenous assimilation.

The journey to national apology began with the Bringing Them Home report - the findings of an inquiry instigated by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in 1995

Court Services Victoria continues to work with the Aboriginal community in the implementation of the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement (AJA) and has played an instrumental part in the review of AJA 3 and in the development of AJA 4. Marking 15 years of Koori Court in 2017, the AJA 3 review process has allowed CSV to consider its current Koori program delivery and to explore gaps and limitations in our response to Koori over representation in the criminal justice system.

The Victorian government continues to support the Aboriginal community towards self-determination, a foundation principle for the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement, and in 2017 we saw the appointment of a Treaty Commissioner, Ms Jill Gallagher whose work together with the Koori community will inevitably overlap into all areas of government including courts.

In 2017, CSV launched a Koori Portfolio Committee representative of the Koori community to work with management and judiciary to progress Koori initiatives aligned to self-determination and reducing over representation. CSVs response will be reflected in each jurisdictions Koori Inclusion Action Plan. On Tuesday 13 February 2018, CSV will host a number of events commemorating this date, including morning tea at the Judicial College of Victoria, where the Prime Minister's speech will be read, a playing of the Prime Minister's speech at the County Court, and various other local events at courts across the State.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's speech began:

That today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations--this blemished chapter in our nation's history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry. We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

A full copy of the speech is available at

The artwork, titled 'Striving for a Better Tomorrow' represents the Koori programs across CSV and the Koori Community. It is reproduced with the permission of the artist, Mr Dixon Patten (2015), a traditional descendant from the Gunnai and Yorta Yorta Peoples.

This page was last updated: Monday 12 February 2018 - 2:44pm