Mixed feelings on Rudd's apology

Federal Parliament has begun debating Wednesday's apology to the Stolen Generations, with a long list of MPs wanting to speak, both for and against, as some emotions ran high.


The government is pressing ahead with practical measures, which includes introducing legislation to put 50 extra teachers in remote Northern Territory schools this year.

But strong views on the Apology are testing the pledge of bipartisanship.

Some Liberals praised Mr Rudd's unprecedented apology, such as backbencher Russel Broadbent.

“The magnanimous, magnificent way the Prime Minister stretched out his hand in bipartisan manner 15 and walked in unity across to those indigenous elders 21 was a moment to behold,” he said.

There's also been debate over the Opposition Leader's defence of past good intentions and graphic detail of child sexual abuse, which saw some outside among the crowds turn their backs.

“I have to say that I took some exception to the comments in the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, even though we welcome the apology,” Labor frontbencher Peter Garrett said.

Liberal Tony Abbott says the Prime Minister's promises on health and education aren't enough. He defended Mr Nelson's speech.

“It was a difficult moment for the opposition leader given the emotion of the day and the history of the coalition on this topic but he rose magnificantly to the occasion,” he said.

The Liberals are playing down the protest.

“Look, it's a democracy. Thank goodness we live in a country where each of us can have our point of view, we can express it,” Mr Nelson said.

But there was no concession for the two Prime Ministrial advisers who also turned their backs. They have apologised.

In Parliament, other MPs are got their chance to speak to the motion they've already collectively endorsed.

Most support saying sorry for past policies which saw up to 50,000 children taken from their parents over six decades.

“The fact that they were removed from their families, their loving families because of their race is something we need to be sorry for and something we are sorry for,” said Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen

But some Liberals held a different view

“I have no confidence whatsover that Kevin Rudd is going to do anything for them, he's had his day of play,” Liberal backbencher Wilson Tuckey said.