New report reveals state of reconciliation in Australia

Today’s release of the State of Reconciliation in Australia report reveals that while the nation has developed a strong foundation for reconciliation, significant challenges remain.

Launched by Reconciliation Australia, the 2016 State of Reconciliation Report measures our progress toward reconciliation against five dimensions: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity, and historical acceptance.

The Report sees support for reconciliation growing across all sectors of the community. The Report cites significant milestones over the last 25 years, including the establishment of native title, Closing the Gap, the national Apology and progress towards constitutional recognition of First Australians.

“There is a national conversation taking place about our shared identity, and increasing support for national reconciliation throughout Australian society. However, there are still many hard conversations before us,” said Reconciliation Australia CEO Justin Mohamed.

The Report finds that almost all Australians (86 per cent) believe the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians is important. Yet Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still experience high levels of racial prejudice and discrimination, and trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains unacceptably low.

“As a nation of peoples, we don’t always agree on the impacts of the past, and what we can do to change this in the future. Today’s Report provides a clear blueprint for a reconciled Australia in which we can all equally participate,” Mr Mohamed said.

The Report includes a series of recommendations to advance Australia towards reconciliation. These include, but are not limited to, zero tolerance for racism, renewed focus on Closing the Gap, and reaffirmed recognition and respect for the rights of First Australians.

“We all have a lot to gain from progressing reconciliation,” Mr Mohamed said. “Until we achieve reconciliation, Australia will fall short of its full potential as a nation.”

The State of Reconciliation in Australia report is the first of its kind since the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation provided its final report to government in 2000.

Read the report here. 

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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