Odd that. He said he could not apologise to the Stolen Generation, (let alone the entire community of Aboriginals disposessed by white settlers). His reason: it was before his time, so any apology from him would not be relevant to the original offence.
Today he apologised to a bunch of Vietnam War Veterans. I do not wish to dispute the merit of their claim to an apology. However, I would just point out that the issue is now 40 years old - long before John Howard entered Parliament. So, the issue for which he is apologising is "before his time". An inconsistent man.
As a matter of record, I lived on Anzac Park, Reid, in Canberra, just down the road from the Australian War Memorial. Some time after the Vietnam War Memorial was built, I heard the most awful howling and wailing echoing up my street. I went to investigate, and found a lone man - of my own age - howling and crying - in front of this most awful memorial. (I mean to use the word in its original meaning as "full of awe".) Please scroll down that page to see the night time shot of the flood-lit memorial. It is truly full of awe. I can only image the memories which this sight brought back to the former soldier. I have no problem with him and his colleagues (living and dead) being offered an apology.
My specific problem is that we should be apologising for having sent them in the first place. John Howard is apologising for their being ignored upon their return.
What a shallow man our Prime Minister is!