Victorian truth-telling process a critical step towards reconciliation

Reconciliation Australia welcomes the announcement to progress truth and justice in Victoria through a formal process.

On Saturday 11 July, the Victorian Government announced that it will establish a truth and justice process to formally recognise historic wrongs – and address ongoing injustices – for Aboriginal Victorians.

Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine said that the announcement is a strong step on the path to reconciliation in that State.

“Our nation’s past is reflected in the present and unless we can heal historical wounds, they will continue to play out in our country’s future. That’s why truth and justice are such critical steps on the path to reconciliation,” Ms Mundine said.

“Reconciliation can only truly evolve when the Australian community and our major institutions acknowledge and repair the wrongs of the past, understand their effects—and make sure that these wrongs, or similarly damaging actions, are not occurring today and are never repeated in the future,” she said.

She said that Australia is ready for a bigger discussion on truth-telling.

“I believe there’s a thirst for truth-telling emerging in the broader community and a desire to better understand our shared history. Reconciliation Australia and The Healing Foundation held a national Truth-telling Symposium in 2018 and it was clear then that momentum was building,” she said.

In the same year, Reconciliation Australia’s Barometer found that:

“There are truths of our history that remain untold, unacknowledged, and poorly understood. They need to be included in our shared history, and our shared stories so that justice and healing can occur and progress can be made towards a reconciled Australia,” Ms Mundine said.

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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