Page 1459 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 June 2022

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Speaking with The Guardian a couple of days ago, Linda Burney said, in relation to the Makarrata and treaty process:

Imagine what this country will be at the end of a national truth telling process.

She went on:

It will be a different country. It will be a country that knows its story. It’s not about blame, it’s not about guilt. It’s just about understanding that this is the real story of this country.

As members are aware, this sentiment is exactly what drove the ACT government’s decision to recognise reconciliation with a public holiday during Reconciliation Week, creating an opportunity to reflect on Australia’s true history and its ongoing impacts. Reconciliation Day is an opportunity to take a break from our usual responsibilities and focus our attention on the task of reconciliation. This focus is facilitated through the ACT government’s free public event held each year to mark Reconciliation Day.

This year’s event was held at the National Arboretum, repeating the successful utilisation of this wonderful venue from last year’s event. The day opened with a smoking ceremony by Uncle Warren Daley and a gracious welcome to Ngunnawal Country from Aunty Violet Sheridan. The event progressed with a range of activities designed to promote conversations and share stories. These included three panel discussions, facilitated by members of the ACT Reconciliation Council; a portrait exhibition highlighting the champions of reconciliation in the Canberra community—building on the exhibition from last year, this now tells the stories of 25 Canberrans, including elders and advocates; storytelling at Mununja the Butterfly Garden; basket weaving and bush animal making in the terrace room; art and craft workshops in the Discovery Garden; and much more.

Unfortunately, this year was the first time I have been unable to attend the Reconciliation Day event, due to being in isolation after contracting COVID-19. I would like to thank the Deputy Chief Minister for representing the ACT government in the formalities on the day, and for demonstrating our commitment, as a government, to the journey of reconciliation.

Finally, I would like to thank the ACT Reconciliation Council for its work in planning and promoting Reconciliation Day. The continued success and growing participation in Reconciliation Day activities reflect the council’s considered and diligent work. I thank all members for the time and effort they have dedicated to making Reconciliation Day 2022 a success. I would particularly like to thank Dr Chris Bourke. Dr Bourke was, of course, my predecessor as Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and conceived of the Reconciliation Day public holiday while in this position. He has served as one of the co-chairs of the Reconciliation Council since its formation, and, through that role, has continued to shape the success of Australia’s first public holiday that recognises the importance of reconciliation.

Expressions of interest are currently open for Canberrans who may wish to join the Reconciliation Council and help continue its fantastic work promoting reconciliation

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