Important dates in the Reconciliation calendar
There are a number of dates significant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that are celebrated with all Australians . Some key dates the nation embraces every year, including NAIDOC Week, National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week.
View the Speech Pathology Australia Reconciliation Action Plan.
NAIDOC Week celebrations are usually held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In 2020, NAIDOC Week will be conducted in the week, 8-15 November.
The NAIDOC 2020 theme - Always Was, Always Will Be. - recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself.
NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
How to get involved in NAIDOC
Information about events during NAIDOC Week is available online.
Before NAIDCO Week commences, download the NAIDOC poster and put it up somewhere prominent, and help promote the week and the week’s theme.
National Reconciliation Week
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is an opportunity for indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievement, and to explore how all Australians can contribute to achieving reconciliation in this country. Speech Pathology Australia supports NRW. Read the Association's Statement on National Reconciliation Week.
The logo for NRW in 2020 is based on artwork created by Biripi/Bunjalung woman Nikita Ridgeway entitled, “Reconciliation, a continuing journey of growth and togetherness.” The artwork’s design elements represent Australians together on a national journey of reconciliation while paying homage to the past and recognising the present.
The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision, respectively.
In this together is the theme for NRW 2020. The Association encourages its members and staff to reflect on the part they play – big or small – on the journey towards reconciliation and how all of us, as a collective, can create a positive impact towards a positive future for all.
This unity of purpose creates a shared sense of belonging and identity; and this identity must value and include the histories, cultures, and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
National Sorry Day
National Sorry Day is held on 26 May each year.
On 26 May 1997 the landmark Bringing them Home report was tabled in the Australian parliament. Bringing them Home is the final report of the ‘National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families’ and was conducted by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (now called the Australian Human Rights Commission) between 1995 and 1997.
The first National Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998 to commemorate the anniversary of the report and remember the grief, suffering and injustice experienced by the stolen generations.
While the Bringing them Home report was published over twenty years ago, it remains a significant document. Many of the report's recommendations are yet to be implemented, members of the Stolen Generations and their families continue to be affected by the trauma caused by forced removal and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still removed from their families at a very high rate.
On the 26 May 2017 the First Nations National Constitutional Convention released the Uluru Statement from the Heart calling for “constitutional change and structural reform” to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and ensure they are rights-holders within their country.
The Healing Foundation is a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of children from their families. The organisation is passionate about strong spirits, strong culture and strong people. Members can explore their website and informative resources across their page to build on your knowledge as all of us strive to heal together.
National Close the Gap Day
National Close the Gap Day is conducted on the third Thursday in March each year. In 2021, National Close the Gap Day is on 18 March.
Closing the Gap acknowledges the ongoing strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in sustaining the world’s oldest living cultures.
Closing the Gap is underpinned by the belief that when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a genuine say in the design and delivery of policies, programs and services that affect them, better life outcomes are achieved. It also recognises that structural change in the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is needed to close the gap.
In March 2019, a formal Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap (the Partnership) was established between the Commonwealth Government, state and territory governments, the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (the Coalition of Peaks) and the Australian Local Government Association. For the first time, Australian governments shared decision making with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak representatives to develop a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the National Agreement).
Learn more about Closing the Gap in Partnership.
How to get involved in National Close the Gap Day
- Register an activity. (There are downloadable online resources to support your event.)
- Invite friends, workmates and family to join you
- Take action by signing the Close the Gap pledge and asking your friends and colleagues to do the same
- Call, tweet or write to your local Member of Parliament and tell them that you want them to Close the Gap
- Listen to and share the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on Facebook - visit the Close the Gap Facebook page.
- Share your photos and stories on social media. Use the hashtag #ClosetheGap.
Anniversary of the Apology
Did you know…
‘Sorry Day’ and the Anniversary of the National Apology (13 February) are two separate days.
‘Sorry Day’ is held annually on the 26 May. The Anniversary of the National Apology is a day that commemorates the event when Kevin Rudd – the then Prime Minister of Australia – made a formal apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples and whose lives had been blighted by past government policies of forced child removal and assimilation.
The National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families was conducted by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) and their final report, titled The Bringing Them Home report, was tabled in parliament in 1997. The report handed down 54 recommendations in response to these findings, many of which have not been implemented by any government since.
'Sorry Day' has been held every year since 1998. The first Sorry Day took place one year after the tabling of The Bringing Them Home Report in Parliament. Having a day of commemoration was actually one of the recommendations within the report.
To learn more, read the full article on the SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) website: 10 things you should know about the National Apology.
Source: Racism. No Way, viewed 10 February 2020
View the Speech Pathology Australia Reconciliation Action Plan.