Today is National Sorry Day, marking 24 years since the Bringing them Home report. Today we reflect on and grieve the profound harm done to Stolen Generations and their families, and stand with them in their fight for justice and journey to healing.
Saying sorry means you don’t do it again – and yet across Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are being removed from their families at 9.7 times the rate of non-Indigenous children. In Victoria, our children are 16.1 times more likely to be removed. This is a national disgrace.
Many of the reasons our children are removed are due to the ongoing impacts of colonisation and racist practices. Issues such as lack of secure employment and housing, poverty, intergenerational trauma and compounding factors such as alcohol and drugs.
We do not need more interventionist government practices to address these impacts of colonisation. We need self-determination.
We need wrap around services that are community led. We need truth-telling to establish a record of current and ongoing injustices, and create a shared understanding of our history. We need Treaties that will embed our sovereignty and rights as First Peoples.
Our children belong at home with their families, connected to culture and community. It was true for Stolen Generations members and their families, and it is true today.
On Sorry Day and every day, we stand with Stolen Generations and their families in their fight for justice. We stand with our community in calling for an end to the over-representation of our children in out-of-home care, and we continue to work towards structural and systemic change through Treaty and truth-telling.