I tried really hard not to be cynical about Rudd’s apology to the ‘stolen generation’ last week. Raych and I were woken up from deep sleep, after 24 hours of travel and waiting around in airports, by the sound of a large crowd outside the window. We live opposite the Redfern Community Centre, and a giant screen had been set up to televise the proceedings.
I’m with Auswatch, and the Onion. It’s shithouse for the government to promise in one news segment that from now on everything will be different, and in the next that an axe is to be taken to public spending and taxes are to be cut. But the cheering and all the emotion in the crowd that morning made me wonder if there was something I was missing about Australian politics that made this a bigger deal than I thought.
Later, at a Redfern pub, the bartender told me that they weren’t selling jugs that day because the police had been in and asked them not to, because they were worried about trouble from celebrating Aborigines. All day and into the night patrols were stepped up. Nothing happened.