Transcript: Reconciliation 1991 - 1999

Video length: 1 minute, 46 seconds

Speaker: Mr Patrick Dodson, former chairperson, Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation

Before the formal creation of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, we just finished and I was part of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths and Custody. One of the recommendations that came out of that Commission was that there needed to be a process of reconciliation in Australia in order to reduce, or firstly create better understanding about the conditions that Indigenous peoples are living in and the nature of the institutions that impact them, and then to develop a better respect between peoples.

We had the whole of Australia, a 200 year legacy basically to deal with … a 200 year legacy of dispossession of Aboriginal people and the need to fix that up.

We defined the vision for the Council … for how we might go about our work for reconciliation. And then to get some agreement on how we might go about the task of creating the need and the awareness for reconciliation in Australia and how then might we get the broader public to participate in this process … and to create justice and equality for Aboriginal people in the country, but in doing so to enhance the nature of the Australian society itself.

So the Council, I believe, did a fairly good job trying to navigate through that. And to some degree it’s a credit to the people who stuck with the process, not just the people on the Council, but the broader public became aware that we as a nation need to move on from some of these legacy issues. The younger people in Australia certainly wanted to move on from the legacy issues from the past, but to do that in a just and proper way.