Reconciliation takes more than rhetoric

Professor Shane Hearn joined Think HQ this month as Head, First Nations Engagement and Communication. Here, during National Reconciliation Week, he reflects on how we really can move forward, together.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Reconciliation. The theme is ‘More than a Word, Reconciliation takes Action’.

I’ve always been interested in the action – not the rhetoric – of reconciliation. Taking action truly enables people to get involved and connect to the Indigenous space. It also implies that if we stand together, we can attain equality: that we can grow to understand and empathise with the Aboriginal experience in this country since colonisation.

The truth is, it’s hard for the broader community to understand, and equity is a long way off! But they can listen. And when they do listen, I think our cause for equality will advance at a much quicker pace.

First and foremost, we must believe that the pain of the Aboriginal experience in Australia through multiple generations of oppression is real. We must have faith that the good in people outweighs the bad. Otherwise, we can never learn to trust each other. Without trust we can never truly live in harmony.

So, as we walk together this week, take advantage. See the opportunity as a way to reach out to a new friend, a new ally. Get to know someone you don’t know, cross cultural boundaries and let’s commit to educate ourselves far better to why the difficulties are so present. Let’s see through the noise and express the world we want to live in!

One with a real focus on equality and inclusion.

Find out how you can act this National Reconciliation Week at the Reconciliation Australia website.

Shane Hearn
Head of First Nations Engagement and Communication