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National Reconciliation week 2019 – A time to walk together in courage

Published: 30 May 2019

As we reflect on 2019 National Reconciliation week, and its theme – Grounded in truth. Walk together in courage. - the Australian Association of Social Workers calls on all Australians to learn more about Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, while renewing our commitments to work with Indigenous peoples to collectively address the injustices they continue to face.

AASW President, Christine Craik said “Reconciliation is about building meaningful relationships and working together for a more just Australia, and this begins with learning more about the resilience and achievements of Indigenous Australians. In the face of such great adversity, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have persevered, and remain the oldest continuing culture in the world.”

She said, “For social workers, National Reconciliation Week is also about learning from the past and working with Indigenous Australians to address the structural disadvantage and discrimination they face in all facets of their lives. This includes advocating for Australian governments to listen to Indigenous voices.”

Linda Ford, AASW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Director said “The National Reconciliation Week theme this year is about the truth of our history as a country and, more importantly, how we have treated each other as Australians. This year’s theme invites us to talk about the past and acknowledge the terrible truths within it. As a nation we need to honour the survivors, and mourn the loss of parts of two amazing cultures and peoples – Aboriginal, and Torres Strait Islander people. In doing this we set the agenda for how we move forward together as one nation.”

The AASW calls on the Morrison Government to establish a Voice to Parliament as described in the Uluru Statement from The Heart, as well as working with Indigenous communities in partnership and collaboration, at every step in the Close the Gap strategy. It is about time we recognised the knowledge and expertise of Indigenous people and follow their lead to identify solutions and bring about change.

“We welcome the appointment of Ken Wyatt as the first Indigenous person to hold the portfolio for Indigenous Affairs’, said Ms Craik. “We hope this marks the beginning of a new era in reconciliation and addressing the disadvantage and injustice experienced by so many Indigenous people in this country.”

“In National Reconciliation Week, we celebrate the cultures, histories, skills and knowledges of Australia’s First Peoples, and call on the government to do the same and commit to meaningful and lasting change.”


Christine Craik is available for interview.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers