We pledge that there can be no Reconciliation without truth, justice, and action.
We pledge to work together for a shared future.
We the peoples, of these lands now called Australia, declare that we:
- Recognise that Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples have never ceded sovereignty and we acknowledge and recognise the sovereignty of over 300 nations of Aboriginal peoples, and over the island nations of the Torres Strait Islander peoples, in these lands now called Australia.
- Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the long standing calls for a National Truth Telling Commission, Treaty and Treaties, and a Voice in and to Parliament.
- Acknowledge the leadership and determination of Aboriginal peoples over many generations including but not limited to, the 1887 Maloga Petition, the 1927 requests of Jimmy Clements and John Noble, the 1937 petition by William Cooper, the 1963 Yirrkala Bark Petitions, the 1988 Barunga Statement, the 1991 song “Treaty” by Yothu Yindi, the 2001 Australian Declaration Towards Reconciliation by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, the 2016 Redfern Statement, and many more, and which culminate most recently in the 2017 Statement from the Heart.
With these declarations, we pray, request, urge, and petition, for you, the Parliament of Australia, to take the following actions:
(a) Uphold all sections of The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other United Nations Declarations relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
(b) Hold a National Truth Telling Commission to enable Australia to have a shared understanding of the true history of Australia and the impacts of colonisation, government policies, and injustice, on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
(c) Establish Internationally recognised Treaty and Treaties between the nation of Australia and the sovereign nations of Aboriginal peoples and islands of the Torres Strait Islander peoples.
(d) Establish a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice in or to the Parliament of Australia which is constitutionally enshrined, is elected by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, is reflective of the diversity of Aboriginal peoples and of Torres Strait Islander peoples, and empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have a greater say in policy and legislation which governs the lives and livelihoods of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and, in so doing, improves the autonomy and prosperity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
(e) Establish a process of further agreement-making between governments at all levels and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
(f) Implement immediately all 339 Recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
(g) Undertake legislative reform that brings protection, justice, healing, and flourishing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities, and Country.
We the peoples are sorry for the length of time, indeed decades and centuries, it has taken for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders voices to be listened to and requests to be actioned. We the peoples have waited long enough to see these requests actioned and we commend the Parliament of Australia to undertake these requests with immediate action.
Artwork not to be copied or used without permission.
Title: Healing Country
Artist: Safina Stewart
Country: Wuthathi Country and Mabuiag Island
Art type: Acrylic Paint on Canvas
Location: Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia, Boonwurrung Country
This painting invites us into truth, justice, and action, that will lead to "Healing Country" and result in the flourishing of Aboriginal peoples, Torres Strait Islander peoples, all peoples of all cultures, and of all creation, in these lands now called Australia.
This artwork explores the parallels of the sun, as a powerful source of healing, life and light with the power of influence, truth, and action. The concentric circles resemble a ripple effect and is a reminder that one good action can have a huge positive impact. The traditional weaving patterns is a reminder of our connectedness and that our communal actions for justice will have a multiplying effect.
Stewart, Safina. Healing Country, 2021. Acrylic paint on canvas, private collection, Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia, Bunurong Country.