ANU experts: National Reconciliation Week 2017

National Reconciliation Week runs from 27 May – 3 June. These dates mark two milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey: The 1967 referendum and the historic Mabo decision, respectively.

The theme for 2017 is “Let’s Take the Next Steps”. This year will involve two significant anniversaries in Australia’s reconciliation journey – 50 years since the 1967 referendum, and 25 years since the historic Mabo decision.

ANU has experts that can speak about National Reconciliation Week who can be contacted directly or through the ANU media office on (02) 6125 7979.

Dr Liz Allen
Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research
T: (02) 6125 0672
M: 0401 358 091
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Indigenous demography; especially families, health, mobility.

“Closing the gap in inequalities through investments in health, education and skills is core to reconciliation through the recognition and realised strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“The demographically young Indigenous Australian population presents many opportunities for communities and families. Removing the barriers to good health and education participation and training - which recognises and promotes culture - for Indigenous young people is essential to progressing national reconciliation.”

Associate Professor Boyd Hunter
Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research,
College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: 02 6125 8207
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Social economics and Indigenous policy

“The antithesis of reconciliation is an act of discrimination, which is still all too common in Australia. While acts of discrimination against Indigenous people are all too common in the labour market there are relatively few instances where discrimination in employment is officially proven. One reason is that the people doing the discrimination know that it is socially unacceptable, and hence their attitudes and behaviour are kept hidden from public scrutiny.

“Since it is hard to prove discrimination, it may be more constructive to focus on the effects of discrimination for the individuals involved. Providing counselling and tangible support to jobseekers affected by discrimination is a useful act of reconciliation.

“It is important not to ignore the existence of discrimination in Australian society. In addition to attempting to minimise the effects of discrimination on Indigenous people, policy could usefully focus on making Indigenous people independent of discriminating employers. The government support provided to Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs is crucial to fostering economic independence, but also helps to provide many jobs to Indigenous workers.”

Dr Deirdre Howard-Wagner
Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research
T: +61 2 6125 3748
E:[email protected]

“This year’s theme should be ‘Let’s take stock’, rather than ‘Let’s take the next step’.

“While this year marks some important milestones like the 1967 Referendum and Mabo, it also marks 10 years on from the Northern Territory Intervention, 30 years on from Bringing Them Home, and 40 years on from the establishment of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

“The rate of indigenous people being incarcerated is increasing as too is the rate of Indigenous children being moved into out-of-home care. And, many have argued that the Northern Territory Intervention and what has followed over the last 10 years has failed. The government of the day envisaged that the reconciliation process would ‘be a driving force for the nation to address Indigenous aspirations, human rights and social justice’.
“It is time to have a frank discussion as a nation about where we are at in terms of our reconciliation journey, especially whether or not the journey of reconciliation has been successful.”

Dr John Giacon
College of Arts and Social Sciences:
E: [email protected]
M: 0421177932
Expertise: Gamilaraay Yuwaalaraay languages, language revival, Indigenous languages.

“Many Indigenous people felt the loss of their languages and are now working to revive and reuse them.

“There is increasing use of Australian Indigenous languages and the NSW Government is updating its approach with new legislation and structures. Language revival is at a stage where it could progress more rapidly with careful planning and development of new approaches.”

For media assistance, contact Aaron Walker on the ANU media hotline on 02 6125 7979 or 0418 307 213.

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