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Apology: Is It Necessary?
By : Richard Lawton
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The minister was settling well into his new church. He had the confidence of his board, and was rapidly winning the hearts of his congregation. Within a few weeks two women, independently, spoke to him about his predecessor. Each had been treated by him in a way that a minister should never treat anyone. They had been emotionally and sexually abused. Until now, neither had said anything to anyone, but they trusted the new minister and told him their stories. Although he had not heard his predecessor’s perspective, the new minister apologised to each of them on the church’s behalf. He was sorry they had suffered such treatment, and especially sorry it had happened at the hands of a trusted servant of God.

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Comments / Feedback
Jim Reiher
Excellent commentary and reflections, Richard. Thanks. Yesterday was one of those key days in Australian History. Feb 13, 2008 will be very important in the years to come. People will say things like: "I remember where I was that morning when Rudd gave the apology" (just as many of us remember what we were doing during other key other events like the sacking of Whitlam, or Neil Armstrong walking on the moon). The apology will help get us back on track as a nation. It is the start of a better future for Aboriginal Australia and all of us. And to be honest, yesterday was the first day in a very long time, when I felt proud to be Australian. Human rights issues have not been much of a priority under the past government. A decade wasted and in many ways, of going backwards on justice issues. But now, finally, a breath of fresh air and a new start. I feel like, finally, I can hold me head high again. But to do that, it did need us to hang our heads low and genuniely say sorry - as part of the healing process. The healing will be deep. In those who were hurt by injustices of the past, and by those of us who inherited benefits (in big or small ways) by those injustices. I woke this morning, (Feb 14) feeling good about the future.
Harold Hayward
• I’m sorry that this apology took so long coming;
• I’m sorry that the question of compensation for those genuinely aggrieved was not addressed;
• I’m sorry that some coalition members boycotted the announcement;
• I’m sorry that some heckled and snubbed the Leader of the Opposition;
• I’m sorry that the apology perpetuated the emotive and deceptive words
“stolen generation” which alienated so many.
• I’m sorry that the kindness and generosity of many white people to plight of the aborigines was not recognised;
• I’m sorry that the problem of child neglect and abuse within Aboriginal communities was not addressed;
• I’ sorry that a genuine attempt at reconciliation was not made. This would have involved a negotiation between equals and an admission of faults on both sides. As it stands, the apology might be regarded as a continuation of white paternalism.

Alan Matheson
I'm sorry Harold that there are people who continue to think that the pain and brutality experienced by the Stolen Generation is "emotive and deceptive".
I'm sorry that state conferences dont allocate 2% of their budgets to indigenous ministries.
I'm sorry that our community care companies havent set themselves a target of 1% of staff coming from indigenous communities.
I'm sorry that state conferences and their agencies and companies still have no public signs and messages recognising and acknowledging the country on which their buidlings now occupy was stolen land.
I'm sorry that ministers are educated,and that they meet in conferences with little understanding of the radical ministry of white and black members and ministers in the struggle for justice and a fair go.
I'm sorry that too many rich christian schools continue to demand more government cash,while black kids dont have teachers or a desk.
I'm sorry that most of our conference leaders and congregations think that the koori mail is another black man.

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