Australia’s Reconciliation Week aims to celebrate the rich culture of the first Australians and is a time to reflect on both the achievements thus far, and what remains to be achieved in order to reach a true reconciliations. May 27, the first day of Reconciliation Week, is the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum in which 90% of Australians voted to remove clauses from the Constitution which discriminated against Indigenous Australians. The referendum also gave the Commonwealth Government the power to make laws on behalf of Aboriginal people.
Over 40 years later, on the 13th of February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd tabled a motion in parliament apologising to Aboriginal Australians for laws and policies which had inflicted ‘profound grief, suffering and loss on these, our fellow Australians’. The apology included a proposal for a policy commission to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in ‘life-expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.’