The Uluru Statement and Related Issues

Art Gallery Lecture Theatre
South Bank, Brisbane
10.30am-3.00pm, Saturday 20 June

 

 

Background

The Uluru Statement from the Heart was developed by the delegates to a National Constitutional Convention and released in May 2017. Its overarching aim was to seek constitutional reforms to empower Aboriginal people and enable them to take a rightful place in their own country. Since its release, it has been met with a wide range of responses, both positive and negative, by governments, academics, non-government organisations and members of the Aboriginal community. A large number of events are underway across the country in which Indigenous groups can discuss the Statement and contribute to the pursuit of its goals.

The movement to acknowledge the original Aboriginal ownership in the Constitution has taken decades to reach its present stage. The outcomes will have a significant impact on the lives of all Australians, present and future, and there are a host of issues for all citizens to consider. For non-Indigenous people, a great deal of education and re-education remain to be done, for it is fair to say that most Australians still do not appreciate the debt that non-Aboriginal people owe to the original inhabitants, nor do they understand the nature and successes of Aboriginal culture.

SOFiA exists to help its members to explore important issues of life and meaning. For Australians, there can be no issues more important than those relating to Australia’s First Nations people – the difficulties that the past has given to them, the urgent measures needed to overcome these difficulties and the lessons that Australians can learn from the successful management of the land by the Aboriginal people for many millennia. Some of these key issues will be explored in this conference.

Program

The morning session will feature a major presentation by a leading member of the Aboriginal community covering a range of the main issues, followed by a question time. After lunch, there will be a panel session, in which several experts in particular fields will provide introductions, discuss these among themselves and answer questions from the floor. Topics to be addressed may include:

  1. The Uluru Statement
  2. A Voice to Parliament
  3. Acknowledgement of the great losses suffered by Aboriginals from European occupation and the continuing legacy of these
  4. Acknowledgement of the positive qualities of Aboriginal culture
  5. Aboriginal management of the land and what governments, farmers and environmentalists can still learn from it
  6. The two-edged sword of identification with Country (spiritual affinity versus practical limitations for health, education, employment)
  7. Aboriginal spirituality (How should educated and progressive Australians respond to any science/religion conflict?)
  8. Variants of “I’m not racist, but”, such as
    • Colourism (“They’re more white than I am and should not call themselves Aboriginal”.)
    • Envyism (“They only call themselves Aboriginal because of all the benefits they get”.)
    • Impatience (“They ought to be over it by now”.)
  9. Educational programs to help all Australians understand our country’s history and its implications for contemporary Australia

Further Information

Contact John Carr (3354 3579) or Rachel Matthews (0408 193 872).

 

Relevant links

The Statement from the Heart: https://www.referendumcouncil.org.au/sites/default/files/2017-05/Uluru_Statement_From_The_Heart_0.PDF

The Information Bulletin from the University of Melbourne: https://law.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/2791940/Uluru-Statement-from-the-Heart-Information-Booklet.pdf

Quick Guide from the Parliament of Australia: https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/library/prspub/5345708/upload_binary/5345708.pdf

Rachel Perkins, the 2019 Boyer Lectures, ‘The End of Silence’: https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/boyerlectures/

Saturday Paper on Bolt and Pascoe: https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/media/2019/11/30/bolt-pascoe-and-the-culture-wars/15750324009163