Coalition to back ''sorry'' motion

The Coalition will back an apology to the Stolen Generations - in principle - however, Federal Opposition leader Brendan Nelson has asked to see the exact wording before next week's announcement.

ABC news reports Prime Minister Kevin Rudd released further details of the apology and gave Dr Nelson a draft version.

The Coalition spent more than four hours discussing the apology in a party room meeting yesterday.

The decision to back the Government's apology comes in light of calls by the Church and other groups urging Dr Nelson to support an apology.

Jesuit human rights lawyer Fr Frank Brennan has welcomed the Coalition' decision.

Writing in Eureka Street magazine today, he expressed some trepidation about what he called the "delicate politics of finalising the wording".

He praised Prime Minister Rudd for dealing honourably with the Coalition discussing the matter directly with Brendan Nelson, but warned that history suggests "we are not quite there yet".

Fr Brennan cited the 1988 example of the scrapping of a bipartisan resolution to acknowledge the place of indigenous Australians, because all members of the Coalition could not agree on the wording.

Dr Nelson said he believes it is "morally and practically important in terms of understanding and addressing the way many Aboriginal people feel about this issue.

"However we believe very strongly that Mr Rudd now needs to release the wording that he proposes to put into the Parliament for this apology," Dr Nelson said.

"It's essential that the Australian people have the opportunity to understand what is going to be said by their Parliament on their behalf."

Dr Nelson repeatedly used the term "forcibly removed generations" during the press conference and expressed his hope that the term "stolen" not be used in the apology.

The draft said the apology will be on behalf of the Parliament rather than the Government if it is likely to receive bipartisan support.

The apology will not include any commitment to provide compensation.

Coalition backs Stolen Generations apology (ABC 06/01/08)

Eureka Street

Brennan uges Nelson to apologise (CathNews 06/02/08)

7 Feb 2008