Kevin Rudd's 2008 Apology to the Stolen Generations

After decades of political and public debate, the first act of the first sitting of the newly elected Federal Government on 12 February 2008 was the delivery of an official apology to the Indigenous peoples who were taken from families and communities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in Australia. 

The statement by Kevin Rudd, Australian Prime Minister 2007-2010, acknowledged and took responsibility for past government policies and actions.

Watch this video with a transcript.

What was your personal response to this moment in Australia’s political history? Did you find it an emotional experience? Did you agree or disagree with saying sorry? Did it affect you directly?

All I know is that this Sorry fiasco has not brought Australia together. It has divided this land and made people like myself, who used to have tolerant and empathic feelings towards Aboriginals, spitting mad. Rosemary, 2008

The PM's apology expresses my concern, empathy and desire that this will begin some psychological and spiritual healing. Joanne Gardiner, Melbourne, 2008

To share your response use the Comments Box at the bottom of this page. Selected written responses will be shown on our website and may be chosen to be shown in the exhibition interactive.

Comments (30)

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J Bridle 21 May, 2013 14:42
I think this was a very important but long overdue apology to the members of the Stolen Generations and their families. I am very glad it was made, and I felt quite moved watching it and the many people who attended. However it does not go far enough. There is the question of reparation that needs to be addressed. AND So many of the recommendations of the Bringing them Home report remain to be achieved. Australians should be educated and helped to be aware of the need not to forget the trauma and injustice suffered by the members of the Stolen Generation at the hands of official policy and those who carried it out- SO THAT we can keep an eye on the progress towards healing via those recommendations, and make sure that it happens.
jono 3 September, 2015 10:00
i totally agree with this comment
Aaron 11 February, 2017 20:11
Australia is and will never be perfect but at least our country is less racist and a slight better history than South Africa. White South Africans and South Africa is the most racist country in the world and the whites who migrate to Australia expect local Aussies and the Australian government to adjust to their demands needs and expectations at least Mr Rudd said sorry. Was there any sorry in SA
not known 29 May, 2013 13:43
i wonder how many people loved kevin Rudd's sorry speech
Kevin Rudd 1 April, 2014 14:38
i loved it to thanks you mat!!
Daniela 22 October, 2014 02:11
what do mean with that?? Do you mean you hate the speech?? I think it was time to say SORRY, but it doesn´t bring the children back to the Family. But it is also to late to say this, because the hole Generation aren´t alive. Today you can´t believe that children were stolen or can be stolen today. I loved this speech, because Kevin rudd spoke it with so much Feeling, that had to cry when i heard the speech or the first time.
elijah latrobe 31 July, 2013 13:02
I think that people should get some sort of benefits.
Pepe The Frog 28 October, 2016 12:00
not know 16 August, 2013 11:39
I think it was a very glad speech and that was very important for the stolen generation and for their families.It's a dark part of the history of Australia but it was important to say sorry and to say we have done that,saddely but we have done.
Tori 20 August, 2013 21:29
i reckon this shouldve happened years ago but still a very moving speech.
portiapossum 22 September, 2013 11:21
A very moving speech. how many times did he say sorry?
anon 9 October, 2013 12:53
this was a very important step in healing Australia
j reach 15 November, 2013 18:51
What happened was wrong but we should not have apologized for something that happened many years ago. it's not our mistake and should not be left to blame for it.
Alex 25 March, 2014 18:07
He actually did not apologise on the publics' behalf, so no one is making 'us' apologise. He apologised for the wrongdoing of the government, parliament, and the PMs past. Also for the problems with the laws created to have caused such issues in the first place. all the 'we' have to do is work as a nation towards reconciliation. :)
Spud Brown 3 July, 2014 10:26
Kevin is obviously a top bloke
NOONGA 3 July, 2014 10:24
Not known 22 October, 2014 02:12
I LOVE this speech
swegmoffun69 29 October, 2014 12:23
anonymous 25 November, 2014 09:48
i think that kevin rudd is a good man because of what he did. i mean no one else would have done that because they mightve thought that we shouldnt apologize for something that was done decades ago but the thing is, is that people such as the indigenous australians still live today and for them to hear that apology may mean alot to them because it was a time in history that shouldnt of happen but did.why cant people just accept and move on and live happy to the fullest and just remember, if it happened to you then you would
anonymous 5 February, 2015 15:43
go rudd guy!
Georgina Nicholson 12 February, 2015 11:50
To Alex, thankyou for making this much clearer to j reach, i like your response and it is spot on.. Reconciliation is the way to go:) In Unity..Aboriginal Elder..
moni tabitha 8 May, 2015 16:09
well, though it has taken them long to apologise they did their part and I salute is my prayer that one day, south Sudanese officials will also say sorry to their people.
Anonymous 19 May, 2015 08:20
This was a great speech and almost brought tears to my eyes, thanks, KR
Jimmy 1 June, 2015 09:39
I love this as a politician
Laibah Zahid 17 June, 2015 18:49
I think I love this speech
charlie 22 June, 2015 10:35
love the speech thankyou mate! i wish you were the prime minister earlier so none of this would have happed
jordanotte555 14 September, 2015 13:27
beautiful apology
deryck 12 October, 2015 19:19
I loved this speech, as it has begun to close the gap between Aboriginals and white australians
Hadleigh 14 October, 2015 12:28
This sorry was needed but that Kevin Rudd guy has done nothing to Australia apart from saying a poor apology speech and run Australia into debt that is almost impossible to get out of. The only way that Australia will get out of this debt is if the good old Liberals do their job which Labor could never have done. Go Liberal
gary 16 March, 2016 14:07
goodmornin guys. i stand up for julia
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