National Reconciliation Week (27 May 2020 to 3 June 2020)
Today marks the commencement of National Reconciliation Week in which Australians as a Nation, acknowledge and learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements. This year marks 20 years in shaping Australia’s journey to a more just, equitable and reconciled nation.
27 May signifies the date of the successful 1967 Referendum in which Australians voted to amend two sections of the Australian Constitution to include Indigenous Australians. However, the 1967 Referendum failed to substantially improve conditions for Indigenous people and failed to acknowledge the distinct standing of Indigenous people as the original occupants of the land.
3 June signifies the 1992 Mabo High Court decision which rejected “terra nullius” (‘land belonging to no-one’) and for the first time acknowledged the Indigenous people as the traditional custodians of Australia. This is an important time in Australian history as the Mabo case finally acknowledged the history of Indigenous dispossession in Australia, abolished the legal fiction of “terra nullius”, and altered the foundation of Australian land law with the commencement of Native Title law.