Generations of Australians have fought hard for meaningful change, but more effort is needed to create a just, equitable and reconciled Australia. With guidance and specialist advice from the Hand-in-Hand: Make it Happen… Make it Matter Conference Reference Group made up Elders, First Nations practitioners from organisations, Day 2 of the conference was planned to improve long-term outcomes for Aboriginal children, young people, families, and communities.
Paul Newman, our MC for Day 2, energised the room and connected with the audience in his eloquent ways, as he shared insightful opinions and transitioned from one session to the next, seamlessly.
The primacy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, stories and histories were shared by Aboriginal Elders, Uncle Colin Locke, Aunty Marie Clegg, and Erin Wilkins.
Ways to build mutual trust and respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians were explored throughout the day in particular when John Leha (CEO of AbSec Nsw), in his keynote address, painted a visionary image of what Reconciliation should look like in community sector organisations, as a collective, what the end goal should look like and what positive progress we should all be striving for. An insightful message that stood out from Peter Morris’s (Reconciliation Australia) morning plenary session was how the simple act of choosing to include the First Nation country on letters going through Australia Post can have such a meaningful impact on the path to Reconciliation and recognition of First Nations People as the traditional custodians of the land. Joshua Staines’ (Board Member of Reconciliation NSW) swayed the attendees with his passionate address about the voices of Indigenous people. He stressed about the importance of hearing from Indigenous matriarchs, and that gender inequality is prevalent even in the issues of which First Nations voices are heard and elevated. During the remainder of his own speaking time as a powerful statement of amplifying the Indigenous matriarchal voice he invited Aunty Marie Clegg to the podium to finish off his address.
Based on overall feedback received, we are extremely pleased that Day 2 was able to increase commitment to actions for reconciliation by building genuine and trusting relationships, and connections were established for local peer support groups.
Team LEAD would like to thank all of them for their impactful contributions to the conference!