A new report shows most recommendations from an inquiry into the Stolen Generation haven't been implemented 20 years on as leaders again pledge action.
When indigenous campaigner Mick Dodson looked around the Great Hall in Parliament House he saw familiar faces.
Some of those gathered, members of the Stolen Generation, had shared their stories with him 20 years ago.
Two decades on, at a parliamentary breakfast attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten, they are still waiting for progress.
"I'm just trying to imagine how they must feel 20 years down the track," Professor Dodson told the gathering on Tuesday.
"Please folks, let's not fail them again."
Professor Dodson described his work on the original Bringing Them Home report as the most challenging thing of his professional life, but it was also rewarding.
There is not an Aboriginal family untouched by the experiences of the Stolen Generation, he said.
One of them is Florence Onus, whose mother was taken at the age of four.
She herself was then one of five children taken from her mother at the age of five.
"Today feels like a new beginning and an opportunity to address unfinished business," Ms Onus said.
Mr Turnbull thanked the Healing Foundation for its new report, which shows many of the 54 original recommendations from Bringing Them Home have never been implemented.
He again spoke in a local indigenous language and said 'sorry' to those hurt by the policy of forced removal.
"Over the years many of you here have bravely told your stories as Mick reminded us," he said.
"You stepped forward to hold a mirror up to our nation."
Mr Turnbull said the government would carefully consider the fresh recommendations, which include:
* A financial redress scheme.
* A national study into intergenerational trauma.
* Analysis of the changing needs of the Stolen Generation as they age.
Mr Shorten said the Stolen Generation was a gross violation of human rights.
"We need to guarantee it can never happen again."
He later told reporters it is time for the parliament to discuss reparation.
"This parliament is capable of having a rancour, blame-free conversation," he said.
The Healing Foundation's chair Steve Larkin said the Stolen Generations had not been able to heal because their needs have not been addressed in a coordinated way.
"As a result, their grief, loss and anger is being passed on to their kids and grandkids."
The Stolen Generation: A documentary