One of the most visited articles on my site is Robert Manne's essay about the Stolen Generation. My website is a pretty trivial and poorly maintained accumulation of geekiness and my generally Classical Liberal point of view, so this article stands out. I'm about as mainstream as you could imagine, and I think the treatment of the indigenous people of Australia is a terrible injustice. "Terrible injustice": this phrase is weak from overuse; that's some indication of how horrible it was. The tragedy of the stolen children and destroyed families is yesterday's horror; the nightmare that lingers in my mind is that ordinary Australians were convinced they were doing the right thing. The cumulative actions of right-thinking decent folk lead to this monstrosity. This is very challenging for me, an ordinary person. It makes me wonder what ordinary things I am doing today that will seem so wrong to my children.
So I was pleased about the promise of an apology , pleased that it was made the first act of the new government, and pleased that the prime minister only barely kept to his promise that this was an apology from the Government, not from the people. John Howard was a competent prime minister but there was a streak of nastiness that surfaced more than once, and I hope we don't forget that. As an Australian living overseas, the new government makes me feel prouder to be an Austarlian than for a long time. I have some insight into how my American friends may feel if they also get an exciting young leader come November 2008.