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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 November 2021) . . Page.. 3863 ..


He opened the eyes of the world to strong, positive depictions of Aboriginal people, their culture and landscapes, and the glitz and glamour of movie stardom was in stark contrast to how I met him: once on the side of an Arnhem Land road in a broken-down truck, and once under a tarp in a remote outstation of Ramingining.

On this day we pay tribute to such a contribution, and I am pleased to present to the Assembly the Place Names Amendment Bill 2021. The amendment I propose is small and simple but it is important. Under the Public Place Names Act 1989, the minister, in this case, Minister Gentleman, may determine the name of a public place that is in territory land. Public places include an avenue, road, street, geographical feature or place that the public is entitled to use, as well as any unleased land. In making such a determination, the minister must have regard to certain matters, which include, at section 4(2)(a):

the names of persons famous in Australian exploration, navigation, pioneering, colonisation, administration, politics, education, science or letters;

My amendment in this bill is to omit the word “colonisation” and substitute it with “reconciliation”. The implications of this amendment are wide reaching and have important implications for reconciliation across our community. The term “colonisation” is offensive to many people in our community and carries many negative connotations. It is time that we give greater attention to those who have made, and those who continue to make, positive contributions towards reconciliation in our community.

The change I am proposing will legislate for a broader scope of persons famous in Australian fields for whom the minister can have regard in determining a public place name. It will reflect a broader range of fields of relevance in contemporary society and to our diverse community and will clearly signal an important move away from glamorising colonisation and, instead, towards honouring reconciliation.

At its heart, reconciliation is about strengthening the relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians. By contrast, colonisation is associated with devastating experiences of land dispossession, violence and racism. To quote Reconciliation Australia:

Reconciliation is an ongoing journey that reminds us that while generations of Australians have fought hard for meaningful change, future gains are likely to take just as much, if not more, effort.

Kirstie Parker, a board member of Reconciliation Australia, states that, for her:

A reconciled Australia is one where our rights as First Australians are not just respected but championed in all the places that matter.

The ACT should be proud of its Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan, adopted by the Chief Minister’s Directorate in April last year. As its name suggests, it is far reaching and sets out a clear framework until April 2023, through five clear dimensions: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity, and


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