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National Reconciliation Week 2018: Don’t keep history a mystery

Published: 27 May 2018

Today marks the start of National Reconciliation week and the AASW recognises it as an important opportunity 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 National President Christine Craik said, “The theme for this year is Don’t keep history a mystery, which emphasises the role that all Australians must have in learning more about the rich knowledge and traditions of Australia’s First Peoples.

“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 preserved, and remain the oldest continuing culture in the world.”

Ms Craik highlighted that the dates of National Reconciliation Week themselves are a reminder of two significant milestones that highlight Australia’s reconciliation history. The week begins on the anniversary of the 1967 referendum and concludes with the High Court Mabo decision.

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.”

The AASW, along with many other groups, was deeply disappointed by the recent budget in its inability to address the continued inequality faced by Indigenous Australians.

Ms Craik said, “As was identified by the National Congress of First Australians, the last budget is further evidence of this Government’s paternalistic and punitive approach to providing Indigenous services, which seek to only further disempower Indigenous communities and entrench poverty and discrimination.

“Worst of all, this budget is another example of this Government’s inability to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and services, and instead focus on discriminatory schemes like the Community Development Program that punish individuals for structural failings.

“On 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.”

You can read the AASW Reconciliation Action Plan 2017-2019.

The latest edition of the AASW member magazine, Social Work Focus, is a special issue with the theme The First Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.


Christine Craik is available for interview.

Media contact
Angela Yin
Communications Lead
P 03 9320 1005 M 0413 532 954

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers