IN one sense, Prime Minister John Howard is correct in admitting reconciliation with Australia’s indigenous peoples cannot be achieved by 2001.
Reconciliation has to be an ongoing process. It is not something you can give a finishing date.
However, an important step on the PM’s behalf would be to issue a sincere and formal apology for the discrimination and inhumane treatment suffered by AustraliaÃ•s indigenous people in the past. The statement of “regret’ he issued last year was inadequate.
It would be an important sign of reconciliation if a national apology could be made to coincide with the centenary of federation. Is that asking too much?