June 15, 2016
Reconciliation Australia welcomes the Prime Minister’s acknowledgement of the facts of Australia’s colonial history, as expressed in his comments which refer to the “invasion” rather than the settlement of Australia.
“Acceptance of the fact that Australia’s colonial history is characterised by the dispossession and marginalisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is fundamental to moving our reconciliation journey forward,” said Reconciliation Australia Co-Chair, Melinda Cilento.
“We are pleased that Prime Minister Turnbull has publicly confirmed his views on this vital point of historical fact—the fact that Australia was invaded.”
Reconciliation Australia’s recently released The State of Reconciliation in Australia report finds that historical acceptance is crucial to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
On the issue of historical acceptance, the Report reveals that the vast majority (94 per cent) of Australians agree that past injustices occurred towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“This historical acceptance remains key to Australia’s reconciliation journey. It calls upon all Australians to acknowledge and accept the shared, and often difficult, truths of our past,” said Ms. Cilento. “Until historical wounds are healed in this way, they will continue diminish our nation’s ability to realise its full potential.”
The Report reveals that almost all Australians (86 per cent) see the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians as important.
Yet the Report also suggests that, despite this growing goodwill, 1 in 4 Australians are unsure about how to contribute more to reconciliation in Australia.
“Australians can contribute in a number of ways to helping advance reconciliation – helping eliminate discrimination in our Constitution is one way to achieve this,” said Ms. Cilento.
“Constitutional recognition and treaty are by no means exclusive,” Ms Cilento added. “It is promising that we are finally in a position where both treaty and constitutional recognition are part of our national conversation, in advancing our nation forward.”
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