National Sorry Day - 26/05/2021

26 May 2021


Today is National Sorry Day and also marks four years since the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The statement represents the coming together of First Nations people from all around the country. Addressing the Australian public, it calls for three things: voice, treaty and truth. Voice—a voice to this parliament, enshrined in our Constitution. Treaty, or makarrata—the coming together after a struggle, culminating in a makarrata commission established to oversee agreement-making between First Nations and governments. Truth—telling the truth about the history of this country. It is incredibly disappointing that we have seen no progress from the Morrison government on implementing this statement. They have essentially ruled out the constitutional reform that is necessary.

Self-determination, a voice to parliament, is the first step in beginning to address the intergenerational trauma and the disadvantage that is lived by First Nations people in this country. The statement points to First Nations Australians being the most incarcerated people on the planet and the fact that, today, their children are alienated from their families at unprecedented rates. The statement says:

These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.

In 1967, the referendum meant that first Nations people were counted, but today they are still asking to be heard. I'm proud that the Labor Party is committed to implementing the statement in full.