It's time to RECOGNISE Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia's Constitution.
Wednesday May 28, 2014
Red Cross staff member Ralph Coulthard helping Yvonne Thomas at the Colebrook Aboriginal community near Port Augusta, SA.
During Reconciliation Week, a historic week commemorating two defining moments in Australia's history, the 1967 Referendum and the High Court Mabo decision, Red Cross reaffirmed its support for the Recognise campaign for constitutional change.
On 27 May 1967, Australians voted to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census. It is Australia's most successful referendum, with more than 90 per cent of Australians voting in favour of the changes.
On 3 June 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision, which legally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land-that existed prior to colonalisation and still exists today.
This year the theme for National Reconciliation Week is "walk the talk". At Red Cross we are doing this in our everyday work, supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to address challenges in their community, to build a successful, safe and healthy future.
Red Cross is supporting the aspirations of young people and building stronger, more autonomous communities in regional and remote areas across the country. We are increasing our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce with incredible staff leading programs building community-led solutions using community development approaches.
Today we "walk the talk" by publishing a new document supporting our commitment to building a culturally competent organisation that respects and acknowledges the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first Australians. Respectful Communication is an awareness program being rolled out over the coming months as part of a whole of organisation cultural competence curriculum.
During Reconciliation Week Red Cross reaffirmed our support for the Recognise campaign for constitutional change. Recognise is all about updating the Australian Constitution to overcome the historical exclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to remove discriminatory and racist provisions.
Red Cross proudly supports National Reconciliation Week and I ask all Red Cross people to reflect on, celebrate the significance of and learn more about the 1967 Referendum and Mabo Day and how these significant milestones have shaped our nation.
To find out more go to the Reconciliation Australia website or follow Recognise on Facebook or Twitter.
CEO Australian Red Cross