This year, on 4 July, we mark the beginning of NAIDOC Week.
This week is a moment to celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of First Nations Australians.
The theme for this year’s NAIDOC Week is Heal Country, heal our nation.
As NAIDOC explains, identity is inextricable from country.
It’s ‘more than a place’, it’s ‘family, kin, law, lore, ceremony, traditions, and language.’
NAIDOC discusses the importance of empowering First Nations people through the management and protection of country and culture, as well as greater social, economic, and political participation more broadly.
It notes that as sovereignty was never ceded, without treaty, this will ‘remain a continuing source of dispute.’
And that while we cannot ‘change history’, Truth-Telling is critical to moving forward as a nation towards Reconciliation.
The NAIDOC Week theme echoes the aspirations outlined in the Uluru Statement: of greater self-determination through a voice to parliament; Treaty-making; and Truth-Telling.
This week, Labor reiterates our call for the Government to ensure that the remaining elements of the Uluru Statement–Treaty and Truth-Telling–are not neglected or forgotten.
We call on the Government to act and work with First Nations people to realise these elements.
In February, Labor senator Patrick Dodson moved a motion in the Senate for the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry to explore options for a national Truth-Telling and Treaty-making process.
But the Government used its numbers in the Senate to vote this down.
Treaty and truth are fundamental tenets of Reconciliation, and there can be no Reconciliation without them.