July 7th-14th is NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee) week in 2019. NAIDOC Week is a public celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The theme for this year’s NAIDOC week is Voice. Treaty. Truth. Please take the time to read over the NAIDOC statement and encourage others to read it also.
It’s also a good time to look over the Uluru Statement From The Heart and consider two of the key reforms called for in the statement. Firstly, that Indigenous Australians be acknowledged in the Australian Constitution and secondly, that a Makarrata Commission be set up to facilitate truth telling and reconciliation.
As is often repeated, Australia is one of the few liberal democracies in the world which does not have a treaty or treaties with (or even a formal acknowledgement of) its Indigenous peoples. If Ken Wyatt can pull off the seemingly impossible task of getting the current government to commit to a referendum on Indigenous recognition in the constitution it would surely be a great opportunity for Australia to mature as a nation. Assuming that the referendum is successful, can a Makarrata Commission be all that far away? Let’s hope not.