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National Sorry Day

National Sorry Day is a day to recognise and acknowledge members of the Stolen Generations. It commemorates the anniversary of the tabling of the landmark Bringing Them Home Report in federal parliament and is a day that should cause us all to pause and reflect on the grief, sorrow and injustice experienced by the Stolen Generations, their families and communities.  

The report shone a spotlight on the history of removal of First Nations children from their families, by force, compulsion, duress or undue influence. It details a period in Australia’s history where our laws and policies caused great distress to countless families and communities. 

The report detailed over 50 recommendations, including acknowledgements and apologies from state and territory governments, religious institutions and educational institutions. It also recommended the implementation of measures such as education in schools and the introduction of language, culture and history centres. An apology to the Stolen Generations was eventually made in 2008 by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and redress or compensation schemes are now available in most Australian states and territories. Notably, Stolen Generations survivors in the NT, where no such scheme is in place, have recently come together in a class action to seek compensation for pain and suffering from the Federal Government.

Whilst the total numbers couldn’t be ascertained, it is believed that most First Nation families have been affected by the forcible removal of children in one or more generations. It is well documented that the effects of forcible removal on those families and communities have been significant, and the resulting trauma has endured. Re-considering the report, some twenty-plus years on, the strength and spirit of those who shared their stories with the inquiry was striking. Their courage helped to open up the consciousness of the broader Australian community to the wrongs committed and caused us to collectively reflect on past failures as a nation.    

It is often said that in order to move forward it is important to acknowledge the past. The Uluru Statement from the Heart ( calls for a process of truth telling about our history. First Nations leaders consider it to be an important part of healing and reconciliation. National Sorry Day event is an important time to reflect on our history and the day serves as a reminder for future generations, to never again to make the mistakes of the past. 

Article by: Kylie Thomas, Secretary, ACC Australia Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Special Interest Group

Kylie Thomas

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ACC Australia is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive in-house profession and has created the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) Special Interest Group. If you are interested in participating in the special interest group or contributing ideas, please contact


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