27 May marks the start of a very special week for Australia and particularly for our First Nations team members and people we support.
National Reconciliation Week (from 27 May to 3 June) provides an opportunity to reflect on the past, to listen, to learn, to acknowledge the ongoing impacts of historical wrongs and to work towards a shared future of mutual respect and understanding.
In short, to heal the wounds that run through the heart of our nation.
That’s why we are encouraging our team members to celebrate the rich culture and history of First Australians by learning about the significance of 50,000 years of continual cultural and spiritual connect to this land. We’re also supporting and encouraging our team members who are attending or leading events in their own communities.
National Reconciliation Week is bookended by two significant dates in Australia’s history – the 1967 Referendum (27 May) and the anniversary of the High Court’s judgement in the 1992 Mabo case on 3 June.
In the referendum, nearly 90 percent of the electorate voted to amend the constitution, allowing First Nations people to be counted as part of the population and acknowledged as equal citizens.
June 3 marks the High Court of Australia’s decision to overturn the legal concept known as “terra nullius” and recognise traditional rights to land. This was a victorious moment in history when Meriam man Eddie Mabo’s land rights were finally recognised.
This year the theme for National Reconciliation Week is “Be a Voice for Generations” and urges everyone to act today for a more reconciled country. The week also urges Australians to use their power, words, and their vote to help create a better, more just, Australia for all.
Mercy Community is marking the week in a practical way by continuing to move forward with our Reconciliation Action Plan.
This is our first RAP (known as an ‘Innovate’ RAP) and it includes practical actions for us to take so that we may develop respectful relationships and create meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
While we know there is still work to do, our RAP is progressing well and is now due for completion in September. You can read more about our RAP on our Reconciliation page.
This special week also allows us to celebrate the work of all our service streams who we know are deeply committed to providing culturally appropriate care for the First Nations people we support.
Our leadership team respects the knowledge that First Nations team members bring to the table and the strong partnerships we have formed with First Nations organisations.
Together, I know we can work towards a shared future of reconciliation and justice for all Australians.
Use these links to learn more about National Reconciliation Week and the Uluru Statement from the Heart and upcoming referendum.
General Manager, First Nations