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Victorian Multicultural Commission supports a date that unifies all Australians

The Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) acknowledges First Nations People as the traditional owners of the land, and respects their continuous spiritual, cultural, material and economic connection to land, water and resources.

Monday 25 January 2021 5:12am

We recognise the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and celebrate their cultures.

The VMC supports self-determination for First Nations people, appropriate constitutional change as well as ‘closing the gap’ on issues such as health, education, employment and the justice system.

We support and endorse Victoria’s journey to Treaty, its implementation and the work of the First Peoples Assembly of Victoria.

Within this context, we acknowledge and reflect that the date we are celebrating today has a painful history for First Nations people.

Australia Day should be a day that unifies us and should not be a day that brings such heartache to First Nations people.

As part of our shared commitment to living in social harmony across all of our diverse communities, we must learn and understand First Nations history and acknowledge their perspective on this date.

We also acknowledge that multicultural communities have been and are encouraged to celebrate their citizenship on Australia Day to show their commitment and love to a country that has welcomed them. This needs to continue irrespective of the date.

We recognise that this nation’s future is bound in true reconciliation. We have an opportunity to have an informed, honest and respectful public conversation that can lead us to changing the date to one that unites us.

We can start this by listening to the truth about our history and addressing the manifestation of these deep injustices.

We can continue by focussing on greater education, dialogue and understanding, including between Aboriginal and newer migrant and refugee communities.

Multicultural communities want to play a role in creating a fully equitable, just and reconciled nation. We therefore commit to creating opportunities for multicultural communities to listen and learn about the truth of our nation’s history.

This dialogue is an important part of our democratic society and one that is patriotic for it will help us better define who we are as a people.

We also commit to facilitating and supporting meaningful connections between Aboriginal Victorians and multicultural communities.

One of the greatest strengths of our society is our willingness to embrace other cultures, and First Nations Peoples should be front of mind.

The rights and experiences of First Nations People needs to be the starting point for any conversation we have about being Australian.

Reviewed 23 June 2021

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