Brennan uges Nelson to apologise

Australian Catholic University's (ACU) Frank Brennan has urged the opposition leader and the coalition to support the Prime Minister's planned apology to the ''stolen generation'' when Federal Parliament resumes next week.

Prof Brennan who is a professor of law in the Institute of Legal Studies said the first sitting is an opportunity for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson to apologise "in our name, for those wrongs suffered by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders."

"We have been talking about this for over a decade. Now is the time to act," Prof Brennan said.

"At the 1997 Reconciliation Convention in Melbourne, (then) PM John Howard made a personal apology.

"I then wrote to Howard suggesting a formula of words for a collective apology by the Parliament. His Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, John Herron responded that the government does not support an official national apology."

Prof Brennan added that in 2000, Brendan Nelson had "mused" on the issue of an apology.

"Eight years on, the senior traditional hard men of the Liberal Party like Bill Heffernan and Shane Stone have indicated that it is time to act," he said.

"It is time for the Commonwealth Parliament to make an official national apology and for our national leaders to draw the line on our behalf so that we can move on, committed to reconciliation and narrowing those critical gaps in health, education, and life expectancy."

Now is the moment for political leadership (Eureka Street 06/02/08)

6 Feb 2008