Just in case it looks like I’m only thinking of today as the premiere of Underbelly, I really need to mention the National Apology speech by PM Rudd this morning.
I didn’t catch all of it at the time (it was on as I was still commuting to work), but I saw the crowds in my building’s lobby gathered around a TV, and when I got up to the office, most colleagues were standing around the TV there. This was a serious event — one that much of the country clearly wanted to watch as it happened. And you could almost hear the applause echo through the city when it was all over.
Can’t really summarise the details, except to say that it was pretty good. Moving when it counted, substantial when it needed to be, looking to the future as it should be.
SMH.com.au has a good round-up of reports and reactions to the morning’s events.
I think that this is to a degree largely symbolic, but it’s extremely important symbolism — something at least a decade overdue — and symbolism that does have the ability to move the nation forward. The conservative naysayers completely miss the point when they rabbit on about it being meaningless; they just don’t get the sort of thing required to bring the issue really into focus for the whole nation.
And I think they’re really also pissed off now that they also missed the “gimme” moment to be associated with such a nation-defining event. Rudd, now that he’s PM, got that from the beginning, and while this apology helps the nation and helps aboriginal people, it helps him politically as well, which is fair enough, because it was his act to follow through on.
And yes, now the nation has to make sure the right actions happen from now, but at least with this apology we’ve made a good start.