“It was healthy that Australians were starting to recognize the failures of the past and repent of the racism and prejudice of previous generations” said Dr Gordon Moyes.
He was speaking at the National Alliance of Christian Leaders in the Old Parliament House Canberra this weekend, the Superintendent of Wesley Mission, Sydney,
He told lay and ordained leader that we could have done better since the first Europeans, the Portuguese, came to our country in the mid-1500's on the west coast
The Aboriginal population in Australia in 1788 had been estimated at 750,000 people. This number rapidly decreased mainly through the ravages of European diseases. The worst diseases were smallpox, measles, chest ailments, venereal disease and alcoholism; Pacific Islanders were exploited as indentured Kanakas working on our cane-fields.
Asians were discriminated against through our White Australia policy. Post War European migrants were labelled Dagos and Wogs.
The sectarianism between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland could still be heard in the rhetoric regarding the Republic, he said.
"But we are now admitting our national failures. We have just expressed our "deep and sincere regret that indigenous Australians suffered injustices under the practices of past generations, and for the hurt and trauma that many indigenous people continue to feel as a consequence of those practices," as Prime Minister Howard put it.
Australia has faced a crisis. It is called a land of peace and prosperity with sound, democratically elected governments, high level of personal morality. But we are now facing a national moral crisis.
"Traditionally the church has delivered that sense of national cohesion and reconciliation. But is the church capable of delivering it today? Some mainline churches are divided over lack of commitment to the Scriptures as the only revelation of God.
"Australia is changing. Many of the changes causes us regret," he concluded, "but, thank God, we are learning to regret our past sins and failures! Now let us commit ourselves to a new future with committed Christians making the legislation for the future of our land."