Australia apologizes for 'indignity and degradation' of Aborigines

Australia apologized Wednesday to its indigenous people for past treatment that "inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss," in a historic parliamentary vote that supporters said would open a new chapter for race relations in the country. Lawmakers unanimously adopted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's motion to say sorry of behalf of all Australians in an emotional session of the federal Parliament that was telecast across the country and watched by crowds gathered giant screens set up in cities, students in school halls, and people huddled around televisions in remote Outback communities. "We apologize for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians," Rudd said in Parliament, reading from the motion.