Rudd's 'sorry' clears way for healing: Ballina man
It has now been one year since Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s historic apology to the Stolen Generation.
And according to Mr Sines – a Goori man who grew up on the North Coast – the anniversary is the perfect time to start looking forward. He said hearing the Government say ‘sorry’ was an important milestone for both the Aboriginal and white communities.
“It was a really big thing. To finally hear it was good,” he said. “There were a lot of injustices. My mum was 11 or 12 when she left school to work as a domestic for a white family.
“She didn’t get paid her proper wages and our family suffered down the track because of that.
“Let’s be strong enough to say these things happened. Then we can get on with it. We can’t be dragged back down.”
Mr Sines and his wife, Angelique, believe the key to creating a better future is education.
They both work in education and have five children of their own.
“I am proud to be an Aboriginal Australian,” Mr Sines said. “But we also want to teach the kids about Angelique’s heritage.
“Race is just not an issue in our family – it’s not something that divides us at all.”
But they still face some challenges, and Mrs Sines worries about how her children are treated.
“Sometimes I get ignorant and think that reconciliation has fully happened,” she said.
“Then I’ll go into a shop with an Aboriginal person, or my kids, and the shop assistants watch them.
There’s a different dynamic.
“And that’s such a shame. It upsets me – I don’t want my children growing up having to worry about that.”
Although Mrs Sines said some people would ‘never accept reconciliation’, she and her husband wanted to help bridge the gaps.
“We’ve just got to keep chipping away,” she said.
A year since 'sorry' day...so what's changed?