Christian groups affirm Uluru Statement on Mabo anniversary

Today, 29 years ago, the high-profile Mabo Case overturned the legal concept of Terra Nullius. The anniversary this year marks the final day of National Reconciliation Week which Christian organisations have honoured by supporting the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“We have always been many, and we share one land. For over 60,000 years, the world’s oldest peoples … coexisting,” says Brooke Prentis in a new video by Common Grace, an Australian Christian movement for justice.

Renewing their commitment to Treaty, Common Grace’s video echoes the Uluru Statement From The Heart and its call for a ‘Makarrata Commission’ (described in the Uluru Statement as a way to “supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.”).

Prentis also said in the Reconciliation Week video: “We who were once many, invite you now the many, who share OUR land, come sit at our table; not as stranger but as our friend.”

“Let us paint a new picture. Let us sing a new song. Let us dance in new colours. Let a new story rise up from our campfire. And let us call it … Treaty.”

Animated by Lee Arkapaw, native Australian flora is used to illustrate the story.

St Vincent de Paul Society has also marked National Reconciliation Week by supporting the “National Indigenous Voice to Parliament enshrined in The Constitution”, as outlined in and sought by the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“Significant legislative, constitutional and structural change is essential to ensure the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in decision-making.”

National Council President Claire Victory said that “it is a source of great shame that the gap between life opportunities for Indigenous and other Australians remains”.

“The Society supports the notion that reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” said Ms Victory.

“Inspired by the reconciling and renewing work of Christ, may we shape new communities …” – Deidre Palmer

The Uniting Church in Australia has long supported National Reconciliation Week and this year has seen it as an opportunity to “affirm our covenant relationship as First and Second Peoples”.

“This week, we acknowledge the wrongs of the past and the present and commit ourselves to take action towards the process of reconciliation,” said Dr Deidre Palmer, UCA President.

In its statement, the UCA also cited the Uluru Statement From The Heart and invited a “movement of the Australian people for a better future”.

“The final paragraph of the Statement from the Heart encourages a movement, First and Second Peoples together, the people born of this spectacular and ancient land together with all those who have migrated here, declaring a new way forward, announcing the rightful place of First Nations voices – a new way shaped by truth telling and treaty.”

“Inspired by the reconciling and renewing work of Christ, may we shape new communities of mutuality, dignity, care and compassion, and a respectful and deepened relationship with this ancient land and her First Peoples.”

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