This was an historic week with the first ever “Welcome to Country” ceremony in federal parliament on Monday and the apology to the stolen generations on Wednesday.
Both Australian territories of The Salvation Army were quick to welcome the apology, which is in part fruition of TSA’s call to “listen to the voice of suffering, rejection, loss and despair, to acknowledge past failures, and to resolve to work together for the good of all Australians of Indigenous Australians”, a call made in 2000.
Already many commentators are indicating that there is a shift in the national psyche, a collective ownership of the problems, and a widespread acknowledgement of the pain that indigenous people have, and do, experience. There seems to be the kernel of a nationwide graciousness that is replacing the former hardness around this issue (notwithstanding some notable examples of the contrary).
Now it is beholden on us as a nation to close the gap of life expectancy, health, education, and housing standards between the Aboriginal population and the rest of Australia. But there is the optimism and the hope that it can be done.
(If you would like to listen to the apology again, go to http://www.abc.net.au/rn/events/apology.htm .)