The road to Reconciliation: May 26 is National Sorry Day

May 26 marks National Sorry Day, remembering and acknowledging the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people forcibly removed from their communities.

The day was first held in 1998, one year after the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Parliament – the result of a government inquiry past policies which led to what is now known as The Stolen Generations.

On this day in 2000, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was filled with hundreds of thousands of people marching for reconciliation, calling for an apology to The Stolen Generations. In 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made that apology.

Australia’s peak body leading the mission, Reconciliation Australia, say there is still much more work to be done – twenty-three years after the Bringing Them Home report.

“Twelve years since the National Apology, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still 10.6 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be removed from their families,” Reconciliation Australia said in a statement.

“We cannot begin to fix the problems of the present without accepting the truth of our history. Sorry Day asks us to acknowledge the Stolen Generations, and in doing so, reminds us that historical injustice is still an ongoing source of intergenerational trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Islander families, communities, and peoples.”

“Since the establishment of Sorry Day, we now recognise another important milestone in Australia’s history on this date.”

“On 26 May, 2017, at the conclusion of the 2017 First Nations National Constitutional Convention at Uluru, council member Megan Davis delivered the Uluru Statement from the Heart, a consensus document on constitutional recognition, developed by a 16-member Referendum Council of Indigenous and non-Indigenous community leaders.”

“Over a six-month period the council travelled to 12 different locations around Australia and met with over 1,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives.”

“The meetings resulted in a consensus document on constitutional recognition, the Uluru Statement from the Heart.”

New Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed his commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, one of the first items on the agenda when delivery his victory speech on Saturday night.

Australian LGBTQIA+ organisations have also taken National Sorry Day as an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to First Nations LGBTQIA+, Sistergirl and Brotherboy communities.

Queensland Council for LGBTI Health acknowledged “the incredible strengths an diversities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.”

“This is an important moment to pause and remember the harms of past policies, their ongoing impacts, and recognise moments of resilience, healing and the power of saying sorry.”

“Today we also re-affirm our Statement of Commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Sistergirl and Brotherboy Communities.”

National LGBTQIA+ advocacy group Equality Australia also spoke out in solidarity with First Nations communities seeking justice.

“It’s important to note that while an official apology was issued under the Rudd government, the removal of First Nations children continues with more than 20,000 children currently in out-of-home care,” Equality Australia said in a statement.

“Today we honour the resilience and strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and stand alongside the communities still seeking justice.”

For more information on Reconciliation, head to

OIP Staff

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