On National Sorry Day Labor stands with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to reaffirm our commitment to healing and reconciliation, and to rededicate ourselves to closing the gap.
Today we come together as a nation to say we are sorry - to acknowledge the dark shadow in our national history that we took too long to face.
We particularly recognise the wrongdoings against the Stolen Generations and their families, their pain and their suffering.
It is also a day to pay tribute to the strength of spirit that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people found, to accept the apology when it was offered – to grasp the hand of national healing.
As a country we still have plenty to do.
And recognising the first Australians in our founding document is the next step on the road to reconciliation - the next step but not the last step.
It needs to be accompanied with practical, community driven measures to help close the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in every part of our national life: from education and employment to justice, housing and health.
Practical change stems from empowering communities.
And every milestone on the road to reconciliation must be paired with meaningful, practical improvements and genuine progress, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, not for them.
But today, let us celebrate the progress we have made and remind ourselves that there is always more to do.
FRIDAY, 26 MAY 2017