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Australian Senate rejects National Sorry Day

Senate rejects National Sorry Day

"I am extremely disappointed that the Government has refused to acknowledge the importance of National Sorry Day to Aboriginal
Australians, and refused to support even the smallest symbolic gesture to recognise the grief caused by the removal of children and the pressing need for reconcilliation."

"However, given how very little was in yesterday's budget to address the huge gaps in health, housing and employment for Aboriginal Australians I am disappointed but not altogether surprised."

Senator Siewert was responding to the defeat by the Government in the
Senate today of a motion calling on the Senate to recognise National
Sorry Day. The motion, put by Senator Rachel Siewert was supported by the ALP, Greens and the Democrats but opposed by the Liberals, Nationals. Family First abstained from the vote.

The motion sought to correct a motion changing of the name of National Sorry Day to the 'National Day of Healing' last year - which was put by Senator Aiden Ridgeway at the behest of the Secretary of the National Sorry Day Committee (NSDC) and supported by the ALP and the Greens. At the time the Senators were not aware that community consultation hadn't taken place and the name change did not have the support of the NSDC.

"It is nine years since the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in
Parliament, and yet so very little has been done to implement what were a very practical and achievable set of recommendations," she said.

Senator Siewert addressed the chamber at length on the personal trauma caused by childhood removal and the growing gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other ordinary Australians.

"It is a source of deep national shame that at a time at which most
Australians have never had it better many of our Nation's first peoples still live in Third World conditions."

Her speech can be found at: http://www.rachelsiewert.org.au/

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