National Apology Day

Posted on February 10, 2022 in Latest News and Information

As part of our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), SensesWA  is committed to making SensesWA a culturally safe and inclusive organisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSIC) People. We recognise the significance of ATSIC peoples in Australian culture, history and identity and the local community in which we operate and believe that organisational learning and growth can help achieve this.  

We formally recognise the importance of National Apology Day for all Australians.  

What is National Apology Day?  

National Apology Day has been observed on February 13th for the past 14 years.  

It marks the anniversary of the then Prime Minster, Kevin Rudd’s Apology to Australia’s Indigenous people for the Australian Government’s policies and actions in forcibly removing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.  

National Apology Day is different to Sorry Day. Sorry Day is held on the 26th of May as this is the anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report in 1997. In which an apology was one of the recommendations to begin compensation and healing for Stolen Generation victims. The West Australian State Government formally apologised on 27th of May 1997.  

Please take the time to read a transcript of the Apology. It is only 4 minutes of speaking time. 

National Apology Day provides us the opportunity to think and reflect on how policies impact negatively and significantly on  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This continues to have impact on the families, culture, and health of Indigenous Australians. 

Sasha Pomery is a Speech Pathologist working in Geraldton and other parts of the Wheatbelt, where there is a high representation of First Nations people. Sasha explains what Apology Day means to her. 

“I believe the word ‘generation’ diminishes the magnitude of the issue. A generation typically lasts 20 to 30 years, the average time people begin having their own children i.e., the beginning of the next generation. The Stolen Generation is reported between 1910 and the 1970s, which would be 2 to 3 generations. However, Governors had the power to remove any child from 1869 in Victoria, later followed by other states. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still disproportionally removed from their families under the label of ‘protection’. That would be 6 generations and counting!  

Another Stolen Generation is not just being talked about in communities but is now being published. 

The data collected for The Family Matters Report (2021) outlines the ongoing impacts from the Stolen Generation and continuous removal of children to receive out-of-home care. 

Sasha believes that taking the time to reflect is a great place to start. 

Take the time to reflect on the Stolen Generation and how we all fit within Australia’s secret past. Without asking questions and being curious but non-confrontational, I would not have learnt the experiences of my family and friends. Including being forcibly removed themselves, being direct descendants of the stolen generation, having forcibly removed children working on our properties, fostering forcibly removed children, and discrimination and abuse for being Aboriginal or darker skinned in country areas. 

The Minister for Indigenous Australians, The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, wrote an opinion and reflective piece last year. This is a wonderfully written piece and a great place to start your reflection process. 

You can view a number of testimonies from Stolen Generation victims, including some from Western Australia.  


The NAIDOC week theme for 2022 is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! Educating ourselves is the beginning of this. We encourage you to take the time over the weekend to learn and reflect on the Australia’s hidden history and the ongoing impact of the Stolen Generation.