Indigenous Aboriginal

National Sorry Day

Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) (By leave) — I am very pleased that we are taking this opportunity today in the
Victorian Parliament to reflect on National Sorry Day and also National Reconciliation Week, which begins
tomorrow. National Sorry Day has been a fixture on our calendar since May 1997, when the Commonwealth
Parliament's Bringing Them Home report was released with the recommendation that such a day of reflection and
commemoration was important.

As we gather here today in Parliament House it is poignant to remember that this site had a long and important
history, long before this building stood here. The traditional owners of this land are the people of the Kulin nation.
The hill where this building stands was once covered by forest and was a traditional Kulin meeting place used for
inter-clan gatherings and ceremonial events. I offer our very special acknowledgement to the traditional owners
today on this national day of significance.

Like many country MPs, on Friday I will be back in my electorate, and I will he proudly attending the National
Reconciliation Week flag-raising ceremony at Echuca. This will importantly be a whole-of-community event to
mark the progress of reconciliation in our community.

In the last decade Victoria as a state and Australia as a nation have taken great steps forward in acknowledging the
mistakes of our nation's past. We as a community have taken responsibility to heal the wounds inflicted by our
predecessors. But as a regional MP who is fortunate to have a number of Indigenous clans throughout my electorate
along the Murray River, I know that we must offer more than symbolic gestures. I take this opportunity to
recognise the traditional clans and families of my area — the Yorta Yorta, the Bangerang, the Dja Dja Wurrung,
the Barapa Barapa, the Wemba Wemba and the Wadi Wadi. I emphasise again my commitment to work with them
on issues that foster reconciliation, which honour their special connection to our lands and which support and
enhance our communities long into the future.

It is important that we stand here today to again emphasise that we as a nation are truly sorry for the wrongdoings,
the forced removals, the ignorance, the bad policy and the true family tragedies that were the result. We must also
remember that our actions today and beyond are equally as important as our reflections on the past.

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