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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1427..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

I was the first Aboriginal student ever to go to Canberra Grammar, and still am the only one there. At times it can feel a little lonely, especially after spending time with my Mum and the rest of my family in Queensland. I go up to Aurukun to visit my family two or three times a year - sometimes I go with my Dad or my little brother Rex, but usually I go by myself.

I will not read it all, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. I will just finish with the last paragraph, where young Bruce says:

I have a really busy and interesting life. I am lucky to have my Aboriginal family and language and culture. I also have the advantages of life in Canberra with my family here, like education and sport. For me, reconciliation is about all of us understanding how other people think and live their lives, and realising that we are connected to them too.

The Journey of Healing organisers have put out a precis of what it is about, and under "Recognition" it says:

It is a matter of healing wounds by embracing, rather than shunning, our history.

In that regard, I have received a media release from a group publishing a book called Healing the Land. I will read as much of it as I can and then seek to have the rest incorporated in Hansard. It says:

When Australia was settled after 1788 the impression given to most Australians today was that it had been a matter of forging into unknown territory, cutting down the trees and farming the unturned soil. These were the pioneering days. And much has been celebrated about this hard past. There is now a secret past that has been revealed that speaks of the desecration of Australian soil by the blood of the First nation's people as the white man came to this land. Over 1,300 massacre sites are listed that detail an Australian wide picture of what actually did occur in the last 210 years. The de-aboriginalisation of Australia had been complete until the Mabo decision in the High Court nullifying the legal concept of terra nullius in 1992. There are many survivors of these massacres who are aware of their history that has been hushed by the invaders. The heart of the Australian people is crying out to share this nation so that we can live together. To sit down and talk and be together. Government programs continually miss their target because they aim for the physical needs only when there is a spiritual cry for the healing of the past. We are more recently becoming aware of the true fact of the bloodshed and war that continues to occur since the invasion of this land during the last 210 years. This is a shocking story of subjugation and unnecessary fear of the First nation people of this land and the greed and selfishness of the new comers to the land. To share is a part of the First nation


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