As an Australian citizen, this is probably the most meaningful and momentous public statement I have witnessed our nation's parliament make in my adult life.
The grassroots movement GetUp! organised a candle display on the parliament lawns which says 'Sorry, the first step'. It is a fitting statement, since words alone will not close the gap between Indigeous and non-Indigenous Australians in terms of child mortality, life expectancy, literacy, education and economic opportunity. In Kevin Rudd's speech this morning, which we stopped work to listen to, he acknowledged this and pledged to take action to close the gap.
On a personal level, I was touched by his acknowledgment of the importance of mothers. And as a woman I was proud to see Julia Gillard--the first female deputy PM in Australian history--at his right shoulder as he spoke.
As an Australian citizen, for the past and present wrongs to the Indigenous community, I say sorry.