Lullabies

Australian prime minister tears up over Aboriginal lullaby

Malcolm Turnbull at a press conference last yearStefan Postles/Getty Images

February 29, 2016

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was moved to tears during an interview in which he recalled a Ngunnawal lullaby while discussing the country's Indigenous Affairs policy.

Speaking with NITV, Turnbull recalled being shown a lullaby in the Ngunnawal language while he was researching an annual speech on inequality in Australia. The song was described to the prime minister by an elderly woman who was from the Stolen Generations: cohorts of Aboriginal children who were taken from their families as part of a forced assimilation process into white Australian society.

"The thing that's so sad," said Turnbull, choking up, "is to imagine that mother singing that story to her at a time when you were losing culture and the last thing that baby was, was safe."

Turnbull is calling on his government colleagues to adopt policies designed to close the significant gaps remaining between Native and other Australians in health, education, and incarceration.