When saying sorry just isn’t enough

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


On 13 February 2008 the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, delivered the long awaited apology to the stolen generations for past removal practices of indigenous children from their families. Media publicity suggested, and this remains true at present, wide spread support for the apology from most quarters and in particular from the very indigenous communities that had been affected by the removal policies in the first place. In this chapter I will argue that saying sorry was the right thing to do, but was not enough to secure the forgiveness of the State by the Australian indigenous communities. Indeed Rudd did not seek forgiveness in his apology. Instead the apology was presented as part of the healing process needed to form a reconciled Australian nation. The question that remains is whether what the government has to offer indigenous peoples by way of reparations for these past wrongs is enough to bring about the necessary changes to the lives of indigenous peoples in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForgiveness
Subtitle of host publicationpromise, possibility and failure
EditorsGeoffrey Karabin, Karolina Wigura
Place of PublicationOxfordshire, England
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781848880559
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • apology
  • Australia
  • forgiveness
  • healing
  • indigenous peoples
  • law
  • policy
  • reconciliation
  • reparations

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