Queensland National Reconciliation Week Launch
Our hosts this morning, Mr Speaker, the Honourable Curtis Pitt MP; Ministers and Members of Parliament; Reconciliation Queensland representatives; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by thanking Mr Shannon Ruska for his Welcome to Country. May I also acknowledge the original custodians of the lands on which we gather, the Turrbul and Jagera people, and pay respect to their Elders past and present, and emerging. I would also like to extend my respect to any First Nations people here with us today.
Reconciliation Week is exceptionally rich in significance and symbolic meaning for us all.
Today marks 24 years since the first Sorry Day and a quarter of a century since publication of the landmark Bringing them Home report into the government policies and practices that separated so many Indigenous children from their families.
Tomorrow is the 55th anniversary of one of the most momentous milestones in Indigenous history in Australia – the Referendum that saw more than 90 per cent of Australians support the proposal to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Census.
The following week, on the third of June, we commemorate the day when the Australian High Court delivered the Mabo Decision which led to the legal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of lands, and paved the way for Native Title.
In more than half a century, there has been much positive change, but the choice of “Be Brave, Make Change” as the theme for this year’s Reconciliation Week is clear evidence that all Australians (individuals, families, communities, organisations and governments – all of us) need to accept that there is still unfinished business that needs to be tackled.
Every one of us is encouraged to support positive change by taking action in our daily lives, not just during Reconciliation Week, but on an ongoing basis; and not just in our homes, but in our neighbourhoods and workplaces, and in everything we do. It may be by learning more about our shared history; it may be by exploring the rich cultures of our First Australians; it may be by bravely speaking out when we hear inappropriate comments or see unjust actions. Whatever action we take, their hope is that we will do it bravely so that we can become a strong, reconciled nation and a just and equal society.
As Governor, I am privileged to speak for all Queenslanders and, on their behalf, I am now very pleased to launch Reconciliation Week 2022 and to thank the Board and staff of Reconciliation Queensland for their hard work and dedication as a peak body. They are a constant reminder to us that reconciliation is everyone’s business.