Saying Sorry – and making amends – compensation.

As part of a Get Up campaign to send messages in support of the Rudd government saying ‘Sorry” i emailed by local Federal MP. Sharon Bird (ALP – Cunningham) – and added comments about the need for compensation.

Sharon replied, giving some detail of the measures which the ALP will be making to restore well-being to First Peoples.

In my view, the most important people who can say when compensation is sufficient to heal the damage is the people who have been directly impacted by those mistaken racist policies of the past.

Click on link below to read the rest of this entry.

Dear Ms Sharon Bird MP, Member for Cunningham [ALP],

The Rudd Government is to be congratulated on making the decision to say “Sorry” to the members of the Stolen Generations.

It is important, for this to be truly healing, for the apology to also enjoy wide support from all sides of Parliament.


It is also very important that the process of saying “Sorry” treats the people concerned as real people – that is, takes their need for some form of compensation as serious and worthy of respect.

Restoring full health and well-being to First Peoples is a basic function of any government and cannot be used as an excuse not to go the extra distance and provide some form of counter-balancing compensation to people who have been removed from their loving families, languages and cultures and living countries.

Many of these people, and you may recall the late Joy Williams/Janaka Wuradjuri, suffered life-long trauma as a result of this gross form of identity theft.


I urge you, in a new 21st century government which will enjoy the benefits of a welcome to country, to support those members of the Stolen Generations who are seeking capital and ongoing funding for the healing centres they regard as necessary to complete the process of bringing them home.

After the long years of the Howard government, which consistently got these important things wrong, Australia’s peoples now need a government which gets the same things completely right so we can all move on.

yours truly

Bruce Reyburn

From: Bird, Sharon (MP)
Sent: Friday, 1 February 2008 12:29 PM
To: Bruce Reyburn
Subject: RE: Spam: Support for the apology – and compensation.

Dear Bruce

Thank you for the email concerning the Commonwealth Government’s intention to extend an apology to Australia’s Stolen Generation when the Federal Parliament resumes in February.

The Federal Labor Party has for many years proposed that the process of reconciliation would be assisted by the Commonwealth Government extending an apology to the Stolen Generation.

I have always supported the reconciliation process. I, like so many other Australians, walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge in support of national reconciliation.

An apology to the Stolen Generation is a crucial, powerful symbolic gesture of respect.

However, as Australians, we need to work with Indigenous communities to improve services aimed at closing the 17-year life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The Commonwealth Government has committed to a $261 million investment in improving Indigenous children’s health and early development.

We have also committed an extra $15 million towards counselling and helping the Stolen Generations reconnect with loved ones.

I appreciate your sentiments and for taking the time to make contact with me on this very important issue to Australia’s future.

Yours sincerely


Sharon Bird MP
Member for Cunningham
PO Box 387, Wollongong 2520
Ph: (02) 4228 5899

—–Original Message—–
From: Bruce Reyburn
Sent: Friday, 1 February 2008 2:03 PM
To: ‘Bird, Sharon (MP)’
Subject: Support for the apology – and compensation.

Hi Sharon

Thanks for your reply.

When i was a kid growing up in Longreach, not far from the birthplace of the ALP down the road in Barcaldine, working men used to say “Talk’s cheap but it takes money to buy a beer.”

Same with saying “Sorry”

When the members of the Stolen Generations themselves are happy with what the ALP government is offering, then we can be too (but not before).

Best wishes for the coming term.

yours truly,