The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) welcome the Prime Minister's apology for the offence caused by the Government's submission on the Stolen Generations.

Mr Peter Smith, Chairman of NATSICC, and Bishop Kevin Manning, Chairman of the ACSJC, made the following joint statement today:

'The hurtful and insensitive remarks regarding the Stolen Generations made in a Government submission to a Senate Inquiry have highlighted the need for deeper and more respectful listening to indigenous Australians by this Government.

We call on the Prime Minister to demonstrate the sincerity of his apology by:

  • withdrawing the Government's submission to the Senate Inquiry on the stolen generations;
  • implementing the remaining recommendations of the Bringing Them Home report;
  • reaffirming Australia's commitment to international human rights standards;
  • pursuing actively the development of a document for reconciliation for the anniversary of Australia's federation in 2001.

At this point in Australia's history, visionary leadership is more important than ever. We cannot undo the past, but we have an absolute moral responsibility to do what we can today to make right those relationships fractured by past injustices.'