Let's take the next steps
Each year National Reconciliation Week (NRW) celebrates and builds on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.
The dates that bookend the week are significant milestones in the reconciliation journey.
27 May - Marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 referendum saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census.
3 June - Commemorates the High Court of Australia’s landmark Mabo decision in 1992, which legally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land—a relationship that existed prior to colonalisation and still exists today. This recognition paved the way for land rights or Native Title.
National Reconciliation Week events
Reconciliation Australia provides an extensive list of NRW events across Australia.
The AASW’s vision for reconciliation
The AASW’s vision for reconciliation is one of increased understanding and appreciation across the Australian social work profession about the histories and cultures of the First Australians. We seek to build upon the key learnings from history and work towards the development of meaningful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as colleagues, community members and people who use our services, founded on recognition and respect.
The AASW has prepared statements, position papers and submissions to government inquiries investigating matters related to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Statements and position papers
- Statement of apology (2004): AASW apologised for past wrongs committed against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including the role of social work in these wrongs.
- Statement supporting the recognition of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander People in the Australian Constitution
- Indigenous education and employment position paper
- Indigenous health position paper
- Reconciliation Action Plan 2013-16
Submissions to inquiries
Submission to Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory: The AASW has called for a significant increase in services that recognises the fundamental right that children and families have to respect, participation and culturally appropriate supports.
Submission to the Inquiry into Youth Justice Centres in Victoria: In line with the AASW Code of Ethics, this submission is underpinned by a commitment to the principles and aspirations of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and all relevant human rights instruments.