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Australia has a long history of reconciliation and countless people – Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous – have dedicated their life’s work to the reconciliation movement.  As a result, many significant steps have been taken.
In the 25 years since the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (CAR) was established, the concept of reconciliation has taken a holistic approach that encompasses rights, as well as so-called symbolic and practical actions.  Over this time, reconciliation has introduced a greater focus on the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians and opened up a national debate on prejudice, discrimination and racism. It has raised broader questions about our national identity and the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and rights in our nation’s story.  Reconciliation can no longer be seen as a single issue or agenda and the contemporary definition of reconciliation must weave all of these threads together.
To develop a framework to measure Australia’s progress towards reconciliation across these many dimensions, Reconiciliation Australia undertook a review of reconciliation in Australia and internationally.  As a result of this work, five critical dimensions that together represent a holistic and comprehensive picture of reconciliation were identified.

Our Future the Five Dimensions of Reconciliation

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race-relations

Race Relations

Federal, state and territory governments maintain strong and effective legal protections against racial discrimination through the current Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) and state-based legislations.

All sectors of the Australian community—governments and business, and the education, health, sports, recreation and arts sectors—show a zero tolerance approach to racism, prejudice and discrimination.

All sectors of the Australian community increase their support for public anti-racism campaigns and resources, such as Racism. It stops with me.

Equality and Equity

  1. RENEW FOCUS ON CLOSING THE GAP BY ALL AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENTS
    • All Australian governments recommit to the Closing the Gap on Indigenous Disadvantage framework, including renewing investments and agreements to meet the Closing the Gap targets in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.
    • All Australian governments agree to include justice targets in the Closing the Gap framework as called for by the National Justice Coalition.
    • All Australian governments commit to appropriate resourcing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. All future policy and strategic planning is done in genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their representative bodies.
  2. RECOGNISE AND RESPECT THE CULTURES AND COLLECTIVE RIGHTS OF FIRST AUSTRALIANS
    • The Australian Government works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to develop a national strategy to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration). Such a plan must outline actions to embed the Declaration in activities by all sectors of society—governments, civil society, the private sector, and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
    • The Australian Government supports and maintains a national, independent and representative voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and national sector peak bodies that represent Aboriginal professionals and community services.
    • All sections of the community take action to increase understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures.

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institutional-integrity-1

Institutional Integrity

  1. CAPITALISE ON THE POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE GENERATED THROUGH THE RAP PROGRAM
    • Reconciliation Australia expands the impact and reach of the RAP program.
    • The corporate sector and all Australian governments increase their support and engagement with the RAP program.
    • All RAP partners increase their RAP commitments and actions to provide positive and sustainable opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations.
  2. IMPROVE THE GOVERNANCE OF GOVERNMENT
    • Government approaches to policy and program development in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs are based on the following principles:
      • good governance within government
      • respectful and sustained engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their representative bodies and community organisations
      • local and holistic approaches
      • long-term approaches supported by sustained and adequate funding
      • evidence-based policies.

Unity

ACHIEVE A PROCESS TO RECOGNIZE ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES AND UNITE ALL AUSTRALIANS
  • The Australian Government continues consulting with the Australian people and, in particular, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to develop a model to meaningfully and substantially recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution and remove racial discrimination from our founding document. Reconciliation Australia believes the model must:
    • contain a statement of recognition
    • remove outdated references to race, in particular section 25
    • include racial non-discrimination
    • be based on the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
    • be supported by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • The Australian Government continues to support broader public education for a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution.
    • All Australian governments and the corporate sector increase and expand agreement-making practices with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the country in ways that empower pathways to self-determination for Indigenous Australians.
  • Dialogue needs to continue with all sectors of the Australian community to discuss the unresolved issues of sovereignty, treaty and agreement-making in order to progress these important matters.

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historical-acceptance

Historical Acceptance

ACKNOWLEDGE OUR PAST THROUGH TRUTH, JUSTICE AND HEALING
  • All sections of the community take action to increase their knowledge and understanding of the wrongs of the past and of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.
  • The education system must maintain and strengthen its focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.
  • Research and develop a truth and justice process for Australia.
  • All governments take a new and more comprehensive response to the Bringing them home and Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody reports.
  • All Australian governments take urgent and well-considered action to avoid repeating the wrongs of the past, including tackling the growing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in prison and the number of children in out-of-home care.