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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (31 May) . . Page.. 1355..


MRS BURKE (continuing):

John Howard, the Prime Minister, is quoted as saying

Chaplains in schools would be able to provide support for students in crisis, during bereavement, and in times of stress, as well as helping them deal with welfare services.

I think this is a positive initiative. I think it is one that the Howard government are to be commended for introducing. It is a difficult and tough call, but I think it is a very humanitarian call. It reaches to the point of people's need. I just wish the program every success and look forward to the feedback in ACT schools.

Journey of Healing commemoration

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (6.22): Mr Speaker, it was my very great privilege on the weekend, and I know that a couple of members have already spoken about this, to represent the Chief Minister at the Journey of Healing ACT's commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Sorry Day. As I say, it was a very great privilege and I think it is a great thing that we can actually have a celebration of the survival of the first peoples of Australia. I think there is—

Mr Smyth: And the boys ignore her as well.

MS MacDONALD: I think that is a very sad thing to say, Mr Smyth.

Mr Smyth: I think you are very sad quite regularly.

MR SPEAKER: Order, members! Order, everybody! Ms MacDonald has the call.

MS MacDONALD: I think it is a very sad thing to say.

Mr Smyth: Oh, Ms MacDonald; just get on with it. That is why your colleagues have turned their backs turned on you.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Smyth!

MS MacDONALD: So it was a great privilege to be in attendance at that celebration of survival and also commemoration of the stolen generation 10 years since the Bringing them home report was brought down on Saturday.

I was there with Senator Kate Lundy. There was talk about how all of the state and territory governments have managed to apologise to the stolen generations but that there still has been no apology from the federal government since that report was brought down. I want to quote briefly from an article which my good friend Senator Ursula Stephens has had published in Eureka Street magazine. She has written an article which is entitled "Why is it so hard to say sorry?"She says:

Why is it so hard to admit that the most human of qualities, fallibility? Regret, atonement and forgiveness lie very much at the core of spiritual values. John Howard's refusal to say sorry to Aboriginal Australians is a denial of an unsavoury truth in the face of irrefutable evidence, and as such demeans us as a


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