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Australia Day – Mixed Feelings

Australia Day – Mixed Feeling

On Saturday 26 January families, communities, Councils, States and Territories will celebrate Australia Day and the achievements of the past year. We congratulate the Australia Day Award winners. However not everyone will celebrate the day; for many people it is also a great reminder of the pain which continues to be experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aboriginal people now refer to it as "Survival Day"" emphasising the strength of their achievements and celebrating their culture.

Twenty years ago the National Australia Day Council formally acknowledged the importance of reconciliation. Recognition and reconciliation continues to be challenge and a hope for many people.

Insights from Pope John Paul 11

  • Pope John Paul 11 identified… very important issues when he spoke to the Aboriginal people in Blatherskite Park at Alice Springs in 1986: He praised the way the Indigenous peoples had cared for the land and then challenged us to learn together how to preserve our fragile environment.
  • …by naming past hurts and continuing injustices, John Paul 11 confronted us as a nation with the need to move towards true reconciliation. Pope John Paul II in 1982 emphasised, on a global level, that: The Church’s dialogue with the cultures of our time (is) a vital area, one in which the destiny of the world … is at stake.

Excerpts from Social Justice Sunday Statement for 2006, The Heart of Our Country: Dignity and justice for our Indigenous sisters and brothers.

Will Australia Day also be a time for your personal reflection on the gap in the quality of life that still exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians?