After years of campaigning for a formal apology for thalidomide survivors, Lisa McManus was taking a moment for the significance to sink in.
"We just need to bathe in the glory of what's just been delivered to us," she said.
Ms McManus, who is also the director of Thalidomide Group Australia, was among many survivors in Canberra on Wednesday for a national apology delivered by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
The prime minister said an apology to survivors and their families decades after the morning sickness drug was withdrawn from sale because it caused birth defects was "unreserved and overdue".
Years after a formal apology was recommended by a Senate inquiry, Ms McManus said the delivery of the apology in parliament was a significant step.
"It seemed like a very heartfelt apology from both sides, which is really what we've been wanting, and there was lots of recognition about the failures that have happened, and that's something that we've never heard before," she told reporters.
"(There was) a little bit of disbelief, because this has been a long and arduous battle, and one that should never needed to happen, and one that I certainly didn't believe would be left for me to fight."
The prime minister used the apology to announce a survivor support program would be reopened for those affected by thalidomide who have previously not come forward.
The program, which includes a lump-sum and annual payments, will also now be indexed, rather be set at a predetermined level.
Ms McManus, who had been calling on the government to reopen eligibility for the scheme to better support survivors, welcomed the announcement.
"I couldn't be prouder of the actions that have been announced today," she said.
Fellow thalidomide survivor Trish Jackson was also in the chamber for the apology, and said it meant a lot.
However, she wished other people affected by the drug could have also been there to see it.
"My parents are both 96, and they're at home because they were too frail to come, and the sad part of it is that they weren't there to hear it," Ms Jackson said.
"For the parents that aren't here any more, we will never forget them, and what they went through, we're still going through."
Ms Jackson said the reopening of the support scheme would mean others affected by thalidomide would get help they need.
While there are more than 140 people registered as thalidomide survivors in Australia, the exact number is not known.
"There's no test to prove you are a thalidomider, and my mum's medical records were destroyed, so there's no proof," she said.
"I'm glad that others will have a chance to be recognised."
Australian Associated Press