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Australian Reconciliation Convention

Category: Event
Date: 26 May 1997
Sub Category:Statement of Commitment/Intention
State/Country:Victoria, Australia
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Alternative Names:
  • National Reconciliation Convention
  • Renewal of the Nation
  • Subject Matter: | Consultation | Cultural Heritage | Customary Law | Economic Development | Education | Employment and Training | Health and Community Services | Implementation | Law - Policy and Justice | Leadership | Local Government | Recognition Agreement / Acknowledgement | Recognition of Native Title or Traditional Ownership | Recognition of Traditional Rights and Interests | Reconciliation | Self Government | Sports and Physical Recreation | Youth
    Summary Information:
    Marking 30 years after the 1967 Constitutional referendum by which the Commonwealth was given power to make laws for indigenous people and to include indigenous people in the census, the 'Renewal of the Nation' or Australian Reconciliation Convention was organised by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. With the aim of facilitating national reconciliation by 2001, it received wide exposure and attracted international interest.
    Detailed Information:
    Incorporating the results of extensive community consultation from the previous year, the Convention attracted over 1800 participants from around Australia, including prominent indigenous and non-indigenous representatives. Multiple plenaries and workshops were held with the aim for the discussions arising from the Convention's forums to inform the Council's direction for its final term. These forums focussed on the key themes of:

  • 'Reconciliation in the Community';
  • 'Human Rights and Indigenous Australians'; and
  • 'Documents of Reconciliation and Constitutional Issues'.

    The main outcome of the workshops were the 138 propositions to advance reconciliation. These propositions included proactive measures to enhance national reconciliation through:

  • increasing and supporting economic and development opportunities for indigenous peoples;

  • increasing indigenous representation and interaction within local communities and government;

  • increasing involvement of young people in the reconciliation movement;

  • increasing support for historical and contemporary indigenous culture and achievements and providing formal protection for cultural heritage;

  • increasing opportunities for indigenous participation in sport and the elimination of racial vilification in sport via codes of conduct;

  • increasing and supporting the representation of indigenous women;

  • facilitating and increasing cross-cultural interaction in social and political spheres;

  • recognition of the indigenous peoples' spiritual connection to their lands and waters;

  • implementation of recommended policies and practices stemming from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody;

  • incorporating studies of indigenous history and culture into the education system;

  • supporting indigenous access to education;

  • establishing a National Place of Memory in Canberra in memory of indigenous experiences after settlement;

  • ongoing monitoring of reconciliation issues;

  • promotion of public awareness of indigenous issues such as the Stolen Generations and self-determination;

  • promotion of movements for self-determination and the formal recognition of indigenous and human rights in Australia, including a Bill of Rights;

  • recognition, including constitutional recognition, and application of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customary law and traditions within Australian with indigenous involvement;

  • endorsement of the international movement towards recognising indigenous rights, in particular the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;

  • promotion and support for land use agreements involving the negotiation and participation of indigenous people;

  • recognition, promotion and support of indigenous health support initiatives;

  • promotion and implementation of accountability of both the Government and organisations responsible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs;

  • creation and endorsement of a national agreement based on extensive consultation to be formalised, and that any such agreement should provide for enabling legislation for local and regional agreements to be negotiated;

  • the adoption of a preamble to the Constitution of Australia acknowledging the cultural diversity of Australia and recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as its indigenous peoples, with continuous rights by virtue of that status;

  • the amendment of the Australian Constitution to further reconciliation after genuine consultations with indigenous peoples;

  • adoption of special measures to increase indigenous participation in government;

  • allocation of a dedicated seat in the Senate to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Chair;

  • promotion of public awareness dispelling myths about native title and the applications of native title law;

  • the development of local and regional agreements about land ownership and use, and provision of services to indigenous communities as a means of recognition and acceptance of indigenous rights and interests, and of recognition of non-indigenous rights and interests;

  • the maintenance of a public register of existing regional agreements and the dissemination of information about them to governments at all levels, accompanied by a comprehensive public education campaign;

  • the allocation of immediate funding to conduct a workshop about the Cape York Heads of Agreement with the specific aim of giving substance to the agreed objectives; and

  • the enactment of enabling Commonwealth legislation to give statutory effect to local and regional agreements.

    Drawing on these propositions, a draft Document for Reconciliation and several draft National Strategies for Reconciliation were released at Corroboree 2000, held in Sydney, May 2000.

  • Related Entries

  • Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation
  • Event
  • Melbourne City Council Statement of Commitment to Indigenous Australians
  • Draft Declaration of Reconciliation
  • Policy/Strategy
  • Reconciliation in Action Database

  • Glossary

    International Convention

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