A Victorian identity that reflects our true history, promotes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, equity and self-determination.
History of the Reconciliation Movement
Reconciliation Victoria was established in 2002 following what’s known as the ‘decade of reconciliation’. The establishment of a formal reconciliation process was one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Report handed down in 1991. The RCIADIC investigated the deaths of 99 Aboriginal people who died in custody between 1980 and 1989. Many of the 339 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody have not been implemented fully or at all.
There were a number of significant developments during the ‘decade for reconciliation’. Paul Keating delivered the groundbreaking Redfern address in 1992, acknowledging the impact of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The first Week of Prayer for Reconciliation was held in 1993 with support from all major religious groups, beginning the annual recognition of National Reconciliation Week from 27 May until 3 June.
The High Court Mabo (1992) decision overturned the false notion that Australia was ‘terra nullius’ – land belonging to no one, and the Native Title Act was introduced the following year. In response to the High Court Wik decision in 1996, which held that pastoral leases did not extinguish Native Title, the Howard Government amended the Native Title Act with a 10-point plan, which extinguished native title in a number of circumstances and diminished native title rights. A group of supporters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people formed as the Defenders of Native Title in response to the 10-point plan, and this group subsequently became ANTaR Victoria.
The Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families - Bringing Them Home - was released in 1997, and the National Reconciliation Convention was held in Melbourne that same year. Many of the 54 recommendations of the Bringing Them Home Report have not been fully implemented.
The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation tabled its Final Report in 2000, and half a million Australians walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and many more across bridges around the country in a show of support for reconciliation. The Report's recommendations included the establishment of a reconciliation body in each state, as well as a national body (Reconciliation Australia), to carry on the work of reconciliation.
Reconciliation Victoria is independent from and works with Reconciliation Australia and other State Reconciliation Councils as part of the Australian Reconciliation Network, which facilitates collaboration, coordination, and information sharing between members to advance reconciliation across Australia.
Learn more about the history of reconciliation in Victoria