Why did you Walk for Reconciliation in the year 2000?
It was thrilling (then heart breaking) that Hawke was at least open to treaty, and Keating did his Redfern speech, along with the euphoria of the Mabo Decision. It felt like a massive turning point, the possibilities for relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples seemed amazing. I also walked as a protest against the PM of the day: John Howard, because he and his government seemed to be the ones standing in the way.
What has changed in the last 20 years?
For Aboriginal peoples, not much; perhaps more of a voice through some media and politics. But inequality, racism and injustice towards Aboriginal peoples remains the same. There is the desire amongst non-Aboriginal peoples for Conciliation or relationship, but this can never truly get going until we tell and lament the true history of this country.
What is your vision of Reconciliation for the next 20 years?"
We absolutely have to sit together and acknowledge the true history of this country. Non-Aboriginal people should get to know their own heritage too; they have not “always been here.” Non-Aboriginal peoples need to say sorry for everything we took, not just stolen children, and to make recompense. We Christians have an example of this in Zacchaeus. And I would like to see Aboriginal peoples given the microphones, the book deals, the seats in parliament, the lecturns, the keys to the city, the embrace of our churches and the place of honour in our homes and at our tables. For non-Aboriginal people to walk with Aboriginal peoples and learn together.