sorry today

We went into Perth to join the audience brought together by the Bringing Them Home Committee to watch the Prime Ministers speech and other parliamentary proceedings streamed live from Canberra for the apology to the Stolen Generations.

The event was advertised to be held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, but it was moved to the Esplanade Gardens and in the Music Box set up for the Perth International Arts Festival. We joined the stream of people that made their way from the convention centre to the Esplanade. Fortunately, we managed to get in to the Music Box and sit on a tiered step, but it was standing room only.

After a hurried introduction by the conveners and others to the accompaniment of the didgeridoo the Welcome to Country started, but was then interrupted to tune into the Prime Ministers speech broadcast from Canberra.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology and subsequent speech [1] were heartfelt and well received with many people cheering, giving applause, waving flags, and a standing ovation. Shame I can’t say the same about the reply [2] given by the Leader of the Opposition, Brendan Nelson. In fact, the crowd showed their discontent by slow clapping and yelling to get him off. With the turn of a switch, he was off. Fortunately we can do that to a live telecast and the action definitely pleased the audience.

Nelson got off to a good start, but I think he should have kept it short and stopped there. He is now on public record of making a right balls-up of what could have been a more memorable occasion for the Opposition.

The Sorry Today program continued with the Welcome to Country and a minute silence. This was followed by a number of scheduled performances starting with a choir singing the Sorry Song. The choir was joined by children from Greenmount Primary School who used sign language which added beautifully to the choir’s singing.

We did not stay for the performances and celebration, so it was a quick walk back up to the Terrace to catch the bus and back to work. But, I was glad that I went to join the people gathered together on the Esplanade to share and participate in the day. Sorry is the first step.

[1] Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says sorry to the Stolen Generations ABC Audio Clips
[2] Fed Oppn Leader Brendan Nelson responds to apology to Stolen Generations ABC Audio Clips


2 thoughts on “sorry today

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