This week is Reconciliation Week in Australia. 

Reconciliation is about coming together, to tell the truth about the past, to heal, to give up the power of position and find an united way forward from racial discrimination, political marginalisation and economic injustice. Otherwise it amounts to lip service, superficial sentiments and failure to resolve the real issue of race by not confronting our history. 

As Gary Foley, First Nations activist of the Gumbaynggirr people, has written:

“How can genuine reconciliation be achieved without an acknowledgment of the crimes of the past?” 

“…without a basic comprehension of why issues such as Aboriginal sovereignty, self-determination and economic independence are important, it cannot be said that one understands the history and situation of indigenous Australians today.”

While last year’s referendum vote was unsuccessful, it was never going to solve all of the issues that need to be tackled to redress the past and current wrongs and seek justice and real opportunity for indigenous communities.

VAHPA has established an independent First Nations Working Group of indigenous members, to lead and represent our First Nations membership, advocate for your interests within our union and define VAHPA positions on issues of social and political importance to our Indigenous communities. 

If you would like to be involved – either as a member of the Working Group, or simply to keep up to date with its progress – please get in touch, so that we can maintain a contact list, and build our understanding, strength and capacity to fight in solidarity with First Nations peoples.

VAHPA acknowledges that we work, organise and advocate on stolen Aboriginal land. 

We acknowledge the Ancestors, Elders and families of the Kulin Nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which our office is located. We pay our respects to the Kulin people and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the wider Melbourne community and beyond. This land was never ceded. Sovereignty has never been ceded. It always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.