'Reconciliation' is about Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians talking, walking, and working together to overcome the division and inequality between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. It is about addressing and acknowledging our true history and righting the wrongs. It is not one act but a journey that requires a commitment from non-Indigenous Australians to take ownership and responsibility for their own learning and role in the process of reconciliation.
The Five Dimensions of Reconciliation
Reconciliation Victoria defines meaningful reconciliation through five key inter-related dimensions, based on Reconciliation Australia’s State of Reconciliation in Australia Report (2016). In Victoria, we see these five dimensions as:
1. Overcoming racism and understanding white privilege and power relations:
Strong legal protection against racism; zero tolerance for racism across the community; strong cultural awareness and competence within organisations and communities.
2. Achieving equitable outcomes in justice, health, education and employment between Aboriginal and other Victorians: Appropriately resourced programs enabling the achievement of equity through self-determination; Victorian government achieving Closing the Gap targets.
3. Developing a new State-wide identity: The sovereignty of Aboriginal people is recognised by all (including through establishing a Treaty); the significance of self-determination is recognised and valued; all Victorians have an opportunity to connect with a shared sense of place.
4. Ensuring government, corporate and community accountability: State government policy outcomes are transparent; appropriate protocols/principles inform state government policy development; organisations are accountable for their reconciliation plans and commitments, and are developing MOUs with Aboriginal groups and communities.
5. Addressing historical injustice: Truthful education of Australian history and integration of Aboriginal history into curriculum; full implementation of the Bringing Them Home Report (1997) recommendations to address lack of justice for those affected by Stolen Generations; full implementation of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Report recommendations (1991); and truthful community narratives of local history - such as memorials to frontier wars, place names reflecting shared history and local Aboriginal language.
In addition to the above dimensions, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) also underpins our work and provides an additional framework for us to understand meaningful reconciliation.
Learn more about the history of reconciliation in Victoria