On February 13, 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generations, which was a pivotal occasion in Australian history for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, it recognised the pain and harm experienced by Indigenous Australians, particularly the members of the Stolen Generations who were forcefully taken from their homes and communities as part of government initiatives to assimilate them into white society. The apology acknowledged that these practises amounted to a deliberate attempt at cultural genocide and that Indigenous Australians are now suffering the aftereffects of this tragedy.
Second, the apology marked a major change in how the Australian government and society as a whole perceived and accepted the past of Indigenous Australians. There had hitherto been little formal acknowledgment of the crimes against Indigenous Australians and their continuing effects. The apology was viewed as a much-needed step toward amity and restoration.
The apology also had a significant symbolic value, to sum up. Many Indigenous Australians and their supporters saw it as a potent gesture of restitution and a step toward justice. It was viewed as a promise to work toward a more just and equitable society as well as a respect of the rights and dignity of Indigenous Australians.
Overall, the apology to the Stolen Generations was a pivotal moment in Australian history since it recognised previous wrongs, signalled a change in how people regard Indigenous Australians and their history, and served as a symbol for the Indigenous Australians and their allies.