Originally I wasn’t going to write about today’s Parliamentary Apology to the Stolen Generations. But the event has so captured the nation that writing will clarify my own thoughts. So here goes…
I’ll get the obvious comments out of the way first. Kevin Rudd delivered the Apology with dignity and grace. Brendan Nelson’s speech was moving in parts, but fortunately his attempts to weasel it failed to sour the overall occasion. I agree with Paul Keating’s comment that Nelson missed the point of the day.
I was disgusted to hear that Chris Pearce, the Member for Aston, was reading a magazine and cracking jokes during Rudd’s speech.
As Chris Graham, editor of The National Indigenous Times reports in Crikey:
At the part where Rudd was talking about the tragedy of infant mortality, the “little ones” in Rudd’s words, Pearce was cracking a joke to the rather uncomfortable looking member of parliament sitting next to him.
In fact, Pearce was so against an apology, that he also sat and read through his own leader’s entire speech. When Rudd finished and received a standing ovation, Pearce was the only member of parliament to remain seated. It begs the question, why did he even show up?
Who voted this ignorant yobbo into Parliament? Mr Pearce, you’re entitled to hold an opinion, but at least show some manners in the House. You could hardly accuse Wilson Tuckey of being Australia’s best-mannered parliamentarian, but at least when he decided against the Apology he didn’t turn up.