Sorry. Not that hard at all really

As members of the coalition opposition struggle with finding the right words in response to Mr. Rudds plan to say sorry,  it is pleasing to see that every man and his dog is pitching in and offering their own form of words to help them out of this pickle.  To add my support to this new cooperative approach I offer Dr. Nelson these words to try on for size: 

In recognition of the broad church that is Her Majestys opposition, and in the spirit of our new found acceptance of the diverse range of opinions that exist in the party room, I wish to extend my hand in a theatrical yet convincing manner and offer – to you the first people of this land – to you the blackfella – to youse boongs, our heartfelt regret, a symbolic gesture, a token nod and a contemptuous sniffle. 

We need to face up to the truth.  The harsh truth that for political reasons we need to craft a fine set of words such as these, and read them out aloud without rushing the delivery so as to impart the necessary sense of gravitas.  And choosing the words carefully is important too. So whether its called the Stolen Generation, the Separated Generation or the Slightly Inconvenienced Generation we are certain to find a form of expression that will satisfy everyone and allow us to assuage the shame, mollify the critics and defend the good intentions of well meaning church people.   We need to acknowledge these truths for political reasons before we can move on.  We need to acknowledge other truths as well.  We need to acknowledge that, without prejudice, bad things may or may not have happened to your people in the past, and that to the extent that some of it may or may not have been our fault, that some of it was yours. 

This great nation has had a glorious history,  but with the change of government, it can now mostly only be found in remainders bins.  There are some fine words in that history, but nowhere does it say sorry.  Today we wish to remedy that situation. 

Sorry.  There I said it. In fact Ill say it again.  Sorry.  What a peculiar word.  Say it yourself.  Try it a few times.  Sorry,  Sorry,  Sorry.  Its got that  S at the start.  The sibilance that begins on the tip of the tongue and then the Orry bit, creating a kind of wobble in the tone, as the tongue retracts back into the larynx. 

 Yesterday I said it one hundred times in a row.  Its amazing.  It completely loses all meaning when you do this, and so with that in mind, on behalf of myself and the whole party room, I want to say, to everyone who ever felt aggrieved over anything at all,  just this: 

Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.   

Satisfied?

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pablo
pablo
13 years ago

Notwithstanding Rex’s post could get him into trouble – ” youse boongs” – it is probably a good subtext for all those Opposition MP’s who Dr Nelson is insisting should have their chance to get it on the record (Hansard)in Tuesday’s ‘debate’
or whatever you call the reply to Rudd’s announcement.
So we will be subjected to a long litany of qualified apologies, regrets, qualifications and personal explanations. Interesting times…

David
David
13 years ago

One of the people I work with has sent this little gem (below) around. I’m slightly ashamed of myself that I haven’t fronted him on it (nor will I – I do have to work with him) and glad I don’t have too much to do with him directly as it will be difficult to be civil.

Since it’s “in vogue” at the moment – here it is…..the APOLOGY Kevin Rudd should be giving to the aboriginals!!

We apologise for giving you free doctors and free medical care and medications, which allows you to survive and multiply so that you can demand apologies.

We apologise for helping you to read and teaching you the English language and thus we opened up to you the entire European civilisation, thought and enterprise.

We feel that we must apologise for building hundreds of homes for you, which you have vandalised and destroyed.

We apologise for giving you law and order which has helped prevent you from slaughtering one another and using the unfortunate for food purposes.

We apologise for developing large farms and properties, which today feed you people, where before, you had the benefits of living off the land and starving during droughts.

We apologise for providing you with warm clothing made of fabric to replace that animal skins you used before.

We apologise for building roads and railway tracks between cities and building cars so that you no longer have to walk over harsh terrain.

We apologise for paying off your vehicle when you fail to pay the installments.

We apologise for giving you free vehicles, petrol, boats, firearms, fishing gear and other non traditional methods that you now use to carry out your traditional ways of hunting.

We apologise for giving you free travel anywhere, whenever. We apologise for giving each and every member of your family $100.00 and free travel to attend an aboriginal funeral.

We apologise for not charging you rent on any lands when white people have to pay.

We apologise for giving you interest free loans.

We apologise for developing oil wells and minerals, including gold and diamonds which you never used and had no idea of their value.

We apologise for developing Ayers rock and Kakadu, and then handing them over to you so that you get all the money.

We apologise for allowing taxpayers money paid towards daughters wedding ($8,000.00 each daughter)

We apologise for giving you $1.7 billion per year for your people, which is $48,000.00 per aboriginal man, woman and child.

We apologise for working hard to pay taxes that finance your welfare, medical care, education, etc to the tune of $1.2 billion each year.

We apologise for having to approach your taxpayer funded aboriginal affairs department to verify the above figures.

For the trouble you will have identifying the uncle toms in your own community who are getting richer and leaving some of you living in squalor and poverty. We do apologise. We really do. We humbly beg your forgiveness for all the above sins.

We are only too happy to take back all the above and return you to the paradise of the outback, whenever you are ready

There’s going to be a lot of this about for the next few weeks.

JM
JM
13 years ago

To be honest I’d call him on it if I were you.

I presume this text was distributed as an email? Using your employer’s facilities?

Surely that’s inappropriate use? You know the sort of thing that would get him fired if it was porn, sexual harrassment or anti-semitic?

If it is, I find the trick here is not to say “Someone (not me) might be offended by this” but “I’m offended” and “This is unrelated to work, and likely to cause disharmony, and is surely against company policy”.

I’ve done this a couple times (about sexually demeaning material) and it hasn’t caused problems. The perpetrator has been a little embarrassed, but we never spoke about it again, and it didn’t happen again either.

Keep your temper and make the sole point that your collegue is the one being disruptive. Works a charm.

The “I’m offended” bit works by removing the “but there’s none of here” excuse. I learnt that one from the manager of a bottle shop telling a couple of young men off for telling a loud sexist joke in his shop.

Laura
13 years ago

David that’s really fucking appalling.

Niall
13 years ago

I’m with Brendan Nelson and the unlamented John Winston Howard. I’m not sorry. Not one little iota. I haven’t done anything to be sorry for and buggered if I’m going to tolerate anyone saying so in my name.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
13 years ago

I wonder whether David is really disgusted (as he professes) by the diatribe he posted, or whether it’s just a faux pose to provide cover for posting views to which he in fact subscribes? I see that someone posted exactly the same material on Yahoo! News message boards at around the same time (since deleted).

Moreover, this isn’t a new “apology” document from the lunar right. It was apparently circulating 8 years ago, when Tim Dunlop posted an article about it on Online Opinion.

Finally, I can’t help wondering whether there’s something about our commenter’s name that serves as an innate attractor to holocaust denying, whether of Jews or Aborigines. Big Brother is watching you Davie. And mining companies rely rather heavily on the goodwill of Aboriginal people these days.

James Farrell
James Farrell
13 years ago

Nial

If you think the apology is on behalf of you, you’re missing the point. It’s an apology from the parliament the actions by governments on both sides, over many decades — actions that were cruel, discriminatory, and humiliating.

If you’re saying, on the other hand, that you don’t think any wrong was done, and you don’t see the need for any expression of regret, why not just ignore it then? The gesture means a lot to some people and costs you nothing.

Vee
Vee
13 years ago

And who does the parliament represent? The people. That’s you and me and God knows who else? Its twisted logic to say it is only on behalf of parliament or solely the members of the government.

That aside, just like the Howard government, it’ll go ahead whether we like it or not.

Alphonse
Alphonse
13 years ago

Sorry Week antonyms (that’s opposites) for beginners:

responsible – not responsible

If not responsible, as an Australian

ashamed/proud – apathetic

Personally, as an Australian today:

sorry/glad – don’t care

Yes Niall, you’re not responsible. Since we can safely rule out apathetic, are you proud or ashamed? (remember, stolen G – not Kokoda)

You’ve ruled out sorry and you care enough to post. So are you glad or just antonymically challenged?

Actually the whole nation is lousy at antonyms. We should be talking about an acknowledgment of shame – something less relevant to immigrants who, though beneficiaries of Australia’s europeanisation, have histories elswhere.

Sorry, sadly, is personal – and there’s a lot syntax yet to be widely observed.

Joshua Gans
Joshua Gans(@joshua-gans)
13 years ago

Vee

Apologies can be, and are routinely, made on behalf of public agencies, offices, departments, and even governments, without any suggestion that all of the citizens are implicated in the action in question. It’s also reasonable in cases of systematic mistreatment of a minority to apologise on behalf of a ‘nation’, if a broader set of institutions (rather than merely the central apparatus of government) were involved, and if the citizens in general approved or behaved as if they approved. Post-war German governments apologised to the Jews on behalf of the nation, but no-one understand this to mean that a child born in 1945 was complicit in the holocaust.

David Coles
David Coles
13 years ago

I have seen the thing that the other David put up at 2 before a number of times. A sad indictment on the ignorance of its author.

I am a little surprised at some of the comments on this thread. I guess I had hoped that more would understand the potency of symbols in society.

Australia had an attitude once that held that the Aborigines were going to die out. Australians didn’t necessarily hate them and most didn’t wish them ill. It was simply the fact. Some were worth saving. The ones with a bit of white, or even sometimes a bit of Asian, in them. These were removed from their Aboriginal families by governments, churches and some other very well intentioned organisations. As a country we agreed with this policy and supported the governments that acted on it for many years.

These days the ‘Stolen Generation’ has grown somewhat to include some who were removed from their families for some other reasons – a lack of proper care, deceased mothers, ‘wrong side’ babies who were rejected and those simply handed up for adoption in the way that was common for many unmarried mothers at the time.

It is high time for the country to draw a line under that old attitude without equivocation. This is about the Stolen Generation certainly but it should also serve as a clear symbol that, as a nation, we no longer seek to smooth the dying pillow. We are blessed that there is a painless and available way to draw the line. We say sorry and continue with a process of reconciliation.

And please let us lose the ignorant arguments that we weren’t alive when these things were done. Tell the Irish, the Jews or the Chechens among many others that history doesn’t matter and that you shouldn’t visit the sins of the fathers on their sons. I still hold the English accountable for sending most of my forebears here against their will although I don’t do any more about it than enjoy their failures at cricket or rugby.

David who sent the racist "apology"
David who sent the racist "apology"
13 years ago

I feel chastened. I didn’t realize that particular piece of nastiness had been around for so long, or spread so widely, as I haven’t seen it before. I must lead a sheltered life. I just thought it was something lurking in a dark corner that needed a bright light shone on it. It’s disturbing that, 40 years after the referendum that recognized the first Australians as fully human, so many people still don’t seem to accept it.

The holocaust denier is no relation, btw.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
13 years ago

OK fair enough David. But you can see how someone might take it the wrong way (or suspect that it was so intended).

Phil
Phil
13 years ago

Hope the apology will include one about the disgusting treatment of young aboriginal boys by one of yours…I mean Bob Collins.

Ted
Ted
13 years ago

It’s a public record of Club Troppo.

It will speak for itself, Jacques.

Liam
Liam
13 years ago

Does jinmaro? Does wolfe? Do I?

you wouldnt believe the subterfuge that goes on, on the net.

You wouldn’t, would you.

James Farrell
James Farrell
13 years ago

Philly, of the dozen people who have commented on this thread, only two have said they disagree with the apology. No one is obliged to make ‘unequivocal’ statement for your benefit.

If you’re not a troll, you’re doing a very good impression of one. Please either try to either to add value or refrain from commenting.

Jc
Jc
13 years ago

Does Jc?

I didn’t until recently, but I have become quite Ok with it as my wife did a good job of explaining it to me in human terms (she a lefty). She believes that they deserve and aplology as bad things have happened to these people. If it manages to help them and reconcile the relationship and making them feel good about themselves it is a worthwhile thing. she also argued that the state though it’s institutions did wrong so the state has a responsiblity to apologise even if these people are not alive. Hey. I’m fine with that.

Liam
Liam
13 years ago

Liam is a bit of a lead weight, isnt it.

That’s a sentence is it, Shakespeare?

John Greenfield
John Greenfield
13 years ago

I am really pleased the Apology is the first point of business of the first Parliament on a new government, and shall be in Martin Place to watch it live. It seems Rudd has consulted a great cross-section of Stolen Generations groups. Let’s hope he gets the wording correct and a huge cloud of sadness and resentment is lifted from our society.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Jc, so it’s necessary to be a “lefty” to explain things in “human terms”?
What other terms could you possibly expect to explain political matters in anyway?

Jc
Jc
13 years ago

Jc, so its necessary to be a lefty to explain things in human terms?

Dude, I was asked a question and tried to answer it in terms of how I arrived at my decision. Don’t think too hard.

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wilful
wilful
13 years ago

I wonder what correlation there is between people who don’t think ‘we’ should say sorry because ‘they’ didn’t personally do it, but are still proud of ‘our’ diggers in France, Gallipoli, Iraq and East Timor, and talk about ‘us’ losing the cricket last night.

yeah I’m bloody sorry about the fucked up plight of aborigines in Australia, today and ever since my ancestors and my ancestors compatriots came and dispossessed them. Much of what was done was done with the best of intentions, or at least according to the standards of the times, but it still wasn’t and isn’t right.

Still, at least Australia wasn’t colonised by the spanish, dutch, belgians, portuguese, the english were as benign as you’d get in those days.

Max
Max
13 years ago

Is the information in David’s posting true? If it is I am very sorry about that!