National Reconciliation Week 2023

We are mid-way through Reconciliation Week, and the NTEU wanted to take stock, and recognise this important week.

For those who are not aware, the final week of May and the beginning of June mark a number of important historical dates. The week is bookended by two anniversaries.

The first of such occurs on the 27th of May, and is the anniversary of the 1967 referendum. This referendum was one very few in this country to be successful, and voters took to the ballots to overwhelming agree that Aboriginal people be counted in the census, thus granting citizenship rights. It also included the power to make laws pertaining to Aboriginal people at the federal level – correcting an exclusion that had previously allowed only the states to do so.

The second date is the anniversary of the handing down of the Mabo 2 ruling in the High Court in 1992. This date is incredibly important because, through his case to have his ancestral lands recognised as being his, the long-held legal fiction of terra nullius was quashed. This paved the way for native title legislation and for truth-telling with regards to accepted fictions around how Australia was colonised. On this front, the fight for land rights continues.

Immediately proceeding Reconciliation Week each year is Sorry Day, held on the 26/5. This date marks the handing down of the Bringing them Home report in parliament in 1997, into the stolen generations. This report included a number of recommendations for healing, reparations and compensation, and whilst the Rudd government issued an official Apology in 2008, the majority of these recommendations remain unfulfilled.

The NTEU would like to acknowledge Reconciliation Week, and the ongoing struggle Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face in this country for justice. Further information is available via the Reconciliation Australia website:

NRW2023 theme: Be a Voice for Generations

The theme for National Reconciliation Week, Be a Voice for Generations, encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and ...

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