Get news on reconciliation in Australia, ideas for driving reconciliation in schools and early learning services, and highlights of great things happening in schools and early learning services across the country. 

3 May 2016

Reconciliation in the Media

Building a respectful understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories among the next generation of Australians is critical to achieving reconciliation. But for some teachers and educators, talking about reconciliation in a real and relevant way can be difficult.

Current news stories are a useful way to connect the concept of reconciliation to everyday life in Australia. Use the below articles as conversation starters with colleagues, parents, students or children, to help think about what reconciliation means to you and your community.

Invaded not settled

An ‘Indigenous Terminology’ guide developed by the University of New South Wales in 2012 has been criticised by media personalities and newspapers, starting a wide-ranging public discussion. The resource was designed to assist staff and students to use appropriate terminology regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their histories and cultures.

Conversation starter: How does language and terminology shape our understanding of Australia’s history?

More First Peoples in parliament

In March, the representation of Australia’s First Peoples in Federal Parliament took a big leap forward, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announcing that two prominent Indigenous Australians are to join Labor’s ranks. Aboriginal activist and father of reconciliation, Patrick Dodson, and Deputy NSW Labor leader, Linda Burney, will have a chance to win seats in the upper and lower houses of the Australian Parliament with the double dissolution election occurring in July.

Conversation starter: Why is it important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are represented in the Australian Parliament?

Artefacts unearthed in Sydney

The construction of a section of Sydney’s new light rail line is in question after more than 22,000 Aboriginal artefacts were unearthed in Randwick. Heritage experts working at the site say the volume of artefacts is indicative of a ceremonial meeting place, and that it should be treated as a site of “state significance.”

Conversation starter: Why is it important to learn about and look after sites of cultural and historical significance such as this one?

The Encounters exhibition 

Encounters (National Museum of Australia, 27 November 2015 to 28 March 2016) featured rare Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects from the British Museum that were collected after contact with Captain James Cook in 1770 onwards. The exhibition prompted an emotional conversation about whether the precious objects – some stolen from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the colonial frontier in circumstances of extreme violence – should be permanently repatriated or displayed in a museum show at all.

Conversation starter: What are some of the potential arguments in favour of repatriating objects to the communities from which they came? What are some arguments in favour of the British Museum retaining the objects?