As much as I attend Sydney Uni (left wing paradise), and receive emails from the Environmental Collective, and take subjects like Contesting Australian Social Policy, and Understanding Australia’s Regions, I found myself a little under prepared for today’s Reconciliation in Parliament. [For the benefit of overseas readers: Today the new Australian Government apologised on behalf of past governments for forcibly removing Aboriginal children from their parents. The previous government spent 10 years refusing to directly apologise, cause they weren’t directly responsible.Info on the reconciliation movement here.]
In all the changes of the last few months, I haven’t really had much time to reflect on just how huge today was, but it hit me when I watched the ABC’s coverage of the apology today. The speech itself was ordinary – Kevin Rudd needs to not repeat himself so much in his speeches – but it was so moving to see Aboriginal people’s responses as they listened in the gallery. I didn’t realise til this point just how much people have been fighting and waiting for past trauma to be seriously acknowledged and understood. It’s really exciting to know that future attempts to improve the living conditions, education and life expectancy will be backed up by more solid (and humanistic) ideals than previous Governments. I am stoked, and I praise God for all the healing that went on today (to borrow the phrasing of many interviewed today). Especially seeing that lots of the initial damage was done in the name of God.
In a more trivial sense, I am curious to see how today – and indeed every aspect of Kevin Rudd’s leadership – will affect life at uni. Since I started uni, everything I have learnt has pretty critical of Howard’s leadership, especially in Social Policy. And even sitting in class hearing it, you could tell that many lecturers were almost bored of repeating their criticisms after having the same leader for so long. I wonder how (or whether!) the Sydney Uni academic will pull the Rudd administration to pieces. In a way, I am sorry that I have already done three years of geography and sociology under Howard. I already didn’t really like his policies. It would have been more interesting to spend the last three years critically analysing a Government that I supported.