16 years after then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders for the forced removal of Indigenous children, Yorta Yorta man Ian Hamm still gets emotional when he hears the apology.
“All somebody has to do is just play the apology again and I just get all teary, I cry,” Mr Hamm says.
“I cried the day that it actually was in 2008, and when Kevin Rudd says we say Sorry, even now it just grabs at me, grabs my heart and I cry 16 years later, it still has the same effect.
“It does remind me that occasionally our country can be really good. That’s what it does.”
Taken from his mother when he was just one week old, Mr Hamm is now Chair of the Stolen Generations Reference Group for the Healing Foundation, which is supporting a number of events taking place around the country that are acknowledging the anniversary of the National Apology.
He says as a mature nation it’s important to own everything, the good and the bad, which is why recalling the apology is so important.
“It’s not only the day itself, but what it signified, it was recognition of a particularly bad chapter in Australia’s history, that is the stealing of children because we were born Aboriginal.
“It’s important to remind ourselves not to get not to get too carried away with ourselves, that Australia has many things going for it, it also has many things for it probably needs to have a look at itself in the mirror.”
Mr Hamm gave an address at this morning’s apology breakfast in Canberra attended by nearly 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Stolen Generation Survivors, and politicians, saying there were mixed emotions in the room when Kevin Rudd’s 2008 Apology was played.
You can watch Kevin Rudd’s National Apology to the Stolen Generation here:
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese acknowledged all members of the Stolen Generation, the courage of all those who spoke up, and the trauma of revisiting a painful history.
Mr Albanese also touched on last year’s failed Indigenous Voice to Parliament Referendum.
You can watch and listen to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s address here: