Samantha Maiden, Online Political Editor | February 12, 2008
A TRADITIONAL Aboriginal welcoming ceremony that marked the opening of the new Parliament today could become permanent.For the first time in the Parliament's 107-year history, the ceremony marked the opening of the first parliamentary sitting of the year.
"With this welcome comes a great symbolism: the hope of a united nation, through reconciliation," Ngannawal elder Matilda House told MPs and Senators.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was handed a message stick during the ceremony which told "the story of our coming together" and Liberal leader Brendan Nelson backed the ceremony becoming a permanent feature.
The moving ceremony also touched on the issue of the Stolen Generation, the subject of the historic formal apology
Earlier today, Mr Rudd defended the controversy over his failure to release the text of the planned apology to the stolen generations arguing getting it "right" for indigenous people is his main concern .
"We are dealing with a matter here which goes to how we, as a nation, heal and that is best done if we, as parliament, can act in unanimity on this question," he told ABC Radio today.
"But the core part of making sure this apology is effective is to make sure it is done right and proper with Aboriginal people.
"They are the most important people in this equation today not politicians be it the Government or theOpposition."http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23200332-601,00.html http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23196221-28737,00.html