National Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June 2020 National Reconciliation Week is an annual celebration and is a time for all Australians to reflect on our shared histories. National Sorry Day is a nation-wide observance held on May 26 each year. Shepparton’s Sorry Day event – usually held in Monash Park – will be held online this year.
26 May – National Sorry Day
National Sorry Day is a nation-wide observance held on May 26 each year. This day gives people the chance to come together and share the steps towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities. For more information, resources and support services regarding the Stolen Generations please visit the following websites: Connecting Home, the Healing Foundation and Link-Up Victoria. Click here for a link to events around Australia.
National Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June 2020
National Reconciliation Week is an annual celebration and is a time for all Australians to reflect on our shared histories, and on the contributions and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The 2020 theme ‘In this together’ reinforces that we all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures. When we come together to build mutual respect and understanding, we shape a better future for all Australians. The In this together poster and digital resources are now available to download and print – click here.
The 1967 Referendum
May 27 marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 Referendum saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and recognise them in the national census.
The date that marks the beginning of National Reconciliation Week, 27 May, signifies the anniversary of the historical 1967 Referendum, where the proposal to alter sections of the Constitution relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was voted on by the Australian people.
The results of the 1967 Referendum are significant in our shared history for three key reasons:
- The amendment to Section 51 of the Constitution allowed the Commonwealth of Australia to make laws with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- People identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander could be legally recorded in the results of the Australian Census for the first time (amendment to Section 127)
- 90.77% of voters voted YES to the question relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, making it the highest recorded YES vote of any proposed alteration
The verdict of Mabo v Queensland altered the foundation of land law in Australia by overturning the doctrine of terra nullius (land belonging to no-one) on which British claims to Australian land were based. This recognition inserted the doctrine of Native Title into Australian law.
The judgements of the High Court in the Mabo case recognised the traditional rights of the Meriam people to their islands in the eastern Torres Strait. The Court also held that native title existed for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.
June 3 is Mabo Day – on this day in 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision which overturned the notion of ‘terra nullius’ and legally recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ connection to their country, a connection that existed prior to colonisation and continues today. This recognition paved the way for the Native Title system.
Visit the Reconciliation Australia website for more information.