As part of its commitment to genuine reconciliation, the leading children’s charity gives every staff member the choice to mark 26 January or take the Australia Day public holiday on an alternative date.
Save the Children Acting CEO Mat Tinkler said the organisation’s support for changing the date reflected its desire to see a truly reconciled nation.
“For many people, January 26 is a deeply painful reminder of the ongoing impacts of colonisation on First Nations peoples and a day of mourning,” Mr Tinkler said.
“The date symbolises the start of dispossession, the attempted destruction of culture and and denial of human rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including the forcible removal of children from their families.
“To work toward reconciliation in Australia, we support the adoption of a new national date, determined in consultation with First Nations peoples, that is fully inclusive of our shared history and culture.
“It is therefore crucial we have a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament, with Indigenous children involved in the design to ensure their views are considered when decisions are made that affect them.”
For more than 65 years, Save the Children has worked alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Save the Children’s vision for a world where children’s rights are recognised and upheld is underpinned by an acknowledgment that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, their families and communities also hold rights as Indigenous people.
Reconciliation comes to life when the diversity and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, heritage and rights are recognised, respected and celebrated.
Mena Waller, Practice Development Manager for Save the Children, said it was essential for all Australians to walk together on the path to reconciliation.
“Reconciliation is about all Australians acknowledging and learning from the past in order to collectively heal, while working together toward a brighter and better future,” Ms Waller said.
“Acknowledging the true history of our country and its impact on First Nations peoples is an important step in this process of reconciliation. Building relationships founded on understanding and respect is vital – we are all part of the Australian story.”
Save the Children works in around 200 Australian communities, with programs reaching more than 30,000 children, young people and adults each year.
The child rights organisation is a signatory of the Redfern Statement and has publicly supported the Uluru Statement, both of which are led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and informed by communities’ views.
Save the Children supports the establishment of a Voice to Parliament that is enshrined in the Constitution, not one which is contained in legislation.
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