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Reconciliation Week marked months on from failed referendum

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What is Reconciliation Week? This year's Reconciliation Week is the first since the Indigenous Voice referendum failed.
What is Reconciliation Week?

Reconciliation Week is underway for the first time since last year’s failed Voice referendum.

The aim of the week is to improve relationships between First Nations and non-First Nations people through reflection and celebration.

This year’s theme is ‘Now More Than Ever’.

Organisers say it’s about acknowledging setbacks to reconciliation efforts between First Nations and non-First Nations Australians over the past 12 months.

What is Reconciliation Week?

Reconciliation Week, now in its 28th year, includes events like art exhibitions, seminars and ceremonies.

It starts on 27 May each year, marking the anniversary of the 1967 referendum that removed Constitutional clauses preventing First Nations people from being considered part of Australia’s population.

The last day of reconciliation week, 3 June, marks the 1992 Mabo decision recognising native title.

Now More Than Ever

This year’s theme aims to encourage ongoing reconciliation efforts following last year’s failed Voice referendum.

The request for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament came from the Uluru Statement from the Heart — a statement endorsed by the Government outlining the path to formally recognising First Nations people in the nation’s Constitution.

The proposed Voice would have been a representative body for First Nations people to advise on policies that affect them. On 14 October, the majority of Australians voted against this proposal.

Truth-telling

The referendum has raised concerns about effective truth-telling processes, which are a key part of reconciliation.

Truth-telling refers to the sharing of ongoing or historical truths, such as land dispossession and colonial conflict, to support reconciliation.

Reconciliation Australia and UNSW examined effective truth-telling practices in a recent study. It found that truth-telling should be led by First Nations communities, recognise the ongoing impacts of past policies, and aim to improve First Nations outcomes.

Federal Government response

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney said Reconciliation Week is a chance “to reflect on the past and take action towards a more reconciled Australia” after what she called a “difficult” year for many First Nations people.

Burney and other leaders are expected to attend Reconciliation Week events at Parliament House throughout the week.

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