12th Anniversary Saying Sorry

12th Anniversary Saying Sorry


The Apology


The 13 February 2020 is the 12th anniversary of the historic Apology made by former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, to members of the Stolen Generations. This happened in Federal Parliament when the Prime Minister made his opening speech to the newly elected Australian Parliament.

In his speech, Rudd apologised to all Indigenous Australians and to the Stolen Generations in particular.

The precursor to the historic day of the Apology was the Bringing Them Home Report.

Bringing Them Home Report


On 26 May 1997, the Bringing Them Home report was released. The report was tabled in the federal parliament and its details shocked the nation.








The Report was a result of the inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families and it documented some of the horrors and injustices experienced by those who had been removed.

Under the law, generations of Australian Indigenous children had been taken away from their families right up until the 1970s.

The findings showed that this forced removal was, in fact, an act of genocide and was contrary to the United Nations Convention on Genocide that was ratified by Australia in 1949.

The Apology was seen as the end to a very painful chapter in Australia’s history.

Day of the Apology


The day of the Apology was a historic and highly emotional day. Emotions ran high and there were tears of sadness and joy.

The proceedings in Parliament were watched on television by Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike throughout the nation. Many travelled to Canberra to be present at the Apology and almost all living former Prime Ministers were in attendance.

A “Welcome to Country” ceremony was performed by Ngunnwal elders to open the proceedings. Then the Prime Minister addressed the Parliament.

13 February 2020 is the 12th anniversary of the Rudd Apology.



Hill, Marji  The Apology: Saying Sorry To The Stolen Generations. Port Melbourne, Pearson Australia, 2009.

Hill, Marji  First People Then And Now: Introducing Indigenous Australians. Gold Coast, The Prison Tree Press, 2017.


Marji Hill

Artwork by Marji Hill