Mr Kevin Rudd, leader of Australia’s recent election winning Labour Party and prime minister-elect, has promised an official apology to the country’s Aborigines early in his first parliamentary term.
Australia’s Aboriginal people continue to be an impoverished minority, with significantly lower life expectancy than the rest of the population. Throughout much of the 20th century thousands of Aboriginal children were given to white families as part of Australian government policy. These became known as the Stolen Generations and the policy still polarises opinions to this day.
Outgoing Prime Minister John Howard had repeatedly refused to say sorry for the abuses, believing the current generation should not feel guilty about mistakes from the past.