On 18 June 1997 then New South Wales Premier, Bob Carr issued an unreserved apology to the Aboriginal people of the state of New South Wales for the policies and practices that led to the removal of generations of Aboriginal children from their families.
This was the first response by an Australian state government to the Bringing them home report, which had revealed the magnitude of the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families in the 20th century. The Australian Capital Territory Government had moved its apology a day previously, on 17 June 1997.
The motion read:
That this House, on behalf of the people of New South Wales:
- Apologises unreservedly to the Aboriginal people of Australia for the systematic separation of generations of Aboriginal children from their parents, families and communities.
- Acknowledges and regrets Parliament's role in enacting laws and endorsing policies of successive governments whereby profound grief and loss have been inflicted upon Aboriginal Australians.
- Calls upon all Australian Governments to respond with compassion, understanding and justice to the Report of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission entitled Bringing them Home.
- Reaffirms its commitment to the goals and processes of reconciliation in New South Wales and throughout Australia.
The motion was passed without dissent.
Sources used to compile this entry: Australian Human Rights Commission, 'Content of apologies by State and Territory Parliaments', in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice, 30 March 2008, http://www.humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/bth_report/apologies_states.html.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 3 April 2013, Last modified: 30 August 2013