Anyone who has ever had an argument would attest that there can be value in offering an apology even though you don’t really think you are completely in the wrong, just to get things back on track. It might be a valid strategy in relationships but I am not sure if it should apply to the running of the country.
Australia took a long time coming around to the question of an apology to the stolen generation. It was a moment I supported as the practices covered by that apology were not just endorsed but in many cases devised by the Commonwealth and States, with the added insult of being perpetrated against people who had had their nation pinched off them. That apology had meaning and depth in my eyes.
Tony Abbott, hardly a bleeding heart, put a solid conservative argument in favour of its delivery, saying it could help Australia draw a line under a difficult part of its history, whatever the arguments about its extent or intent, and let us all get on with life.
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