MP and Bishop welcome apology

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin and the Bishop of Lismore, Geoffrey Jarrett, both welcomed Wednesdays national apology to Indigenous Australians, with Janelle saying she was humbled to be in Canberra for the event.

I know the importance of this apology, because Page has twice the national average of Indigenous residents and so many of them are from the stolen generations or their families, she said. Saying sorry isnt about an expiation of guilt, its about restoring respect. It is about acknowledging past wrongs and starting to put them right.

The apology is the first step towards closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, in particular the shameful gap of 17 years in life expectancy.

Yesterday for the first time Parliament was opened with a Welcome to Country by a local Indigenous elder and a welcome ceremony. Arriving here in the nations capital, a strange place for me, the ceremony really did make me feel welcome. There is a wonderful atmosphere here.

Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett also praised the apology but said there was much work to be done to right the wrongs of the past.

The apology is a milestone in the life our nation, the Bishop said. It is a defining moment, from which I hope that we will all press onwards to complete the work of reconciliation with the Indigenous people of this land.

In our Catholic language, saying sorry means having a firm purpose of amendment. There is a huge task ahead to make amends for the injustice and inhumanity of the past.


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