With apologies to Kevin Rudd

Australian House of Representatives, 12 February 2052

The Clerk: Government business notice number 1, Motion offering an apology to asylum seeker children kept in Australian detention centres.

The Speaker: Prime Minister.

Prime Minister: Madam Speaker, I move:

That today we honour the refugee children of this land, those who have richly contributed to this country we call home.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were children in offshore detention – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the mental anguish of these children on distant islands, and the effect it has had on their families and their community.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these children, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the languishing, the trauma, the uncertainty, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a desperate people searching for help, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, whether from across the seas or born on our nation’s shores, to close the gap that lies between us in prejudice, xenophobia and hatred.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.

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