Reconciliation

Each year, National Reconciliation Week is celebrated from 27 May–3 June. The theme for 2017 is Let's Take the Next Steps.

National Reconciliation Week marks an important opportunity for all Queenslanders to come together to commemorate and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage, and reflect upon the significant changes in our history for the betterment of Australia’s First Nations’ peoples.
As part of our National Reconciliation Week celebrations, we ask all Queenslanders to join us in recognising the past and moving together toward the future.

This year, 2017, marks 2 important milestones in reconciliation: the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision.

National Sorry Day

Sorry Day acknowledges the impacts of the forced removal and separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children—known as the Stolen Generations—from their families, communities and country. The National Inquiry into the Stolen Generations resulted in the 1997 ‘Bringing them Home’ Report, which outlined 54 recommendations—the National Apology being just one of these recommendations.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the tabling of the report in Federal Parliament on 26 May 1997. The launch of the report, which detailed painful evidence of the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, was an event that shook Australia.

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1967 Referendum

The first day of National Reconciliation Week, 27 May, marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 referendum saw more than 90% 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. This day is remembered as a historic act of reconciliation toward Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the referendum.

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Mabo Day

The final day of Reconciliation Week, 3 June, is Mabo Day. This year marks the 25th year since the High Court of Australia overturned the principle of ‘terra nullius’ or ‘vacant land’ as claimed by the British when they first arrived in this country. Mabo Day commemorates the High Court of Australia’s landmark Mabo decision in 1992, which legally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land—a relationship that existed prior to colonialisation and still exists today. This recognition paved the way for land rights or Native Title. Read more about Eddie Mabo.

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How you can get involved

There are lots of ways you can get involved and show your support for National Sorry Day, National Reconciliation Week, the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo Decision.

Whether your activity is big or small, think about how you can get your friends, neighbourhood and community involved. Each community is different, so think of an activity that is meaningful and appropriate to your location.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • hold a flag raising ceremony using the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags
  • host an event such as a morning tea to commemorate reconciliation week and invite a local Indigenous member from your community to speak
  • contact a local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation and enquire about planned events within your local community that you can participate in
  • use the National Reconciliation Week events calendar to find an event in your local area.

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Promote your own event

We've also developed some templates that you can download and use to promote your own events:

National Sorry Day

National Reconciliation Week

1967 Referendum

Mabo Day

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Queensland Government and reconciliation

The Queensland Government is working on a number of initiatives as an act of reconciliation. These include:

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More information

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National Reconciliation Week

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Please submit your comments on the department's Compliments and Complaints section.

Please submit your comments on the Queensland Government website Contacts form.