We urge the Australian Government to re-commit to the reconciliation process with Australia’s Indigenous peoples by recognizing that Australia was settled without a treaty. We urge the Australian Government to commence a process of consultation with Indigenous Australians to establish an agreement/ or treaty to deal with the unfinished business of reconciliation and thereby unite all Australians. This Treaty/ Agreement could ultimately be enacted in legislation. We note that the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation provided a draft bill for this in its Final Report to Parliament ‘Reconciliation: Australia’s Challenge: 2000.’
In our view the Australian Government’s full commitment to the reconciliation process would be measured by the following basic actions:
- Re-establishing a national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, which the government has just introduced legislation to abolish);
- Introducing legislation for a Referendum to change the Australian Constitution to recognize Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first Australians & removing section 25 of the Australian Constitution which has racist ramifications;
- Ongoing financial commitment to a framework for monitoring & addressing Indigenous disadvantage.
- Enshrining the Declaration Toward Reconciliation & Roadmap for Reconciliation 2000 in legislation; and
- Ongoing commitment to reconciliation education & awareness activities and organizations, at the local, state and national level.
We note that agencies such as the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, it’s successor Reconciliation Australia, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and the Australian Senate as well as many prominent and ordinary Australians have called the Australian Government to account for its lack of commitment to the reconciliation process since coming to power in 1996.