Now More Than Ever: Reconciliation Week underway

Now More Than Ever: Reconciliation Week underway
Image: The Australian flag, the Indigenous flag and the flag of the Torres Strait Islands are seen flying outside Parliament House to mark Reconciliation week in Canberra in 2023. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Reconciliation Week is now underway for the first time since last year’s failed Voice to parliament referendum.

This year’s theme, “Now More Than Ever”, seeks to encourage ongoing reconciliation efforts since the referendum. Now in its 28th year, the week invites all Australians to learn about “our shared histories, cultures, and achievements” and includes events like art exhibitions, seminars and ceremonies.

It starts on May 27 each year, commemorating the 1967 referendum which saw the inclusion of all Indigenous Australians in the census. It ends on June 3, Mabo Day, which in 1992 saw the High Court’s decision to recognise the land interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and overturn the colonial doctrine of “terra nullius”.

“There have been many moments in Australia’s reconciliation journey that make us want to turn away. But when things are divisive, the worst thing we can do is disengage or disconnect,” Reconciliation Australia’s website says.

“Now more than ever, we need to tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation. We know that the 6.2 million Australians who voted YES are committed to better outcomes for First Nations people, and are with us.”

The referendum highlighted the importance of truth-telling processes, a key part of reconciliation.

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney said the week would be a chance “to reflect on the past and take action towards a more reconciled Australia” after what has been a “difficult” year for many First Nations people.

Assistant Minister Malarndirri McCarthy said reconciliation is a journey for all Australians to embark on.

“Each of us has a part to play in advancing this journey and I urge every Australian to consider how to work together to create a reconciled country that takes pride in 65,000 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and connection to country.”

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