Wednesday, 26 May 2021
Statements by Members
National Sorry Day
Today is National Sorry Day and the beginning of Reconciliation Week. It's also the fourth anniversary of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Four years ago, over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people met at the foot of Uluru in Central Australia on the country of the Anangu peoples. The majority resolved in the Uluru Statement from the Heart to call for the establishment of a First Nations voice in the Australian parliament and in the Australian Constitution, and a makarrata commission to supervise a process of agreement making and truth-telling between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Today the Uluru Statement from the Heart has been awarded the Sydney Peace Prize for 2021. The judging panel called the Uluru statement a 'powerful and historic offering of peace' that was crucial to 'the healing within our nation'. Yet, here we are, four years later, and the Morrison Liberal government continues to place the utterly reasonable aspirations of the Uluru statement in the too-hard basket, just kicking that can down the road yet again.
The theme for Reconciliation Week is 'More than a word. Reconciliation takes action'. So I say to the Prime Minister and his government: it's time to take action to address the systemic issues that we've known for a long time like deaths in custody, the incarceration rates of kids and the rate of forced removal of children, which are shockingly high. It's time to take action to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full. (Time expired)