Aborigines open Australian parliament

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A century of Westminster-style pageantry and pomp took a backseat in Australia’s capital Canberra today when Aborigines smeared with white body paint and playing didgeridoos opened parliament for the first time.

The colourful ceremony came as prime minister Kevin Rudd prepares to deliver an historic apology to the Stolen Generations — Aboriginal children who were removed from their families in an attempt to integrate them into white society.

British parliamentary traditions made way for Aborigines of the local Ngunnawal tribe, who called on their ancestor spirits to welcome new MPs to the new parliamentary term.

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