Reconciliation in Australia

CSSV’s Reconciliation Vision

The Council and Members of Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) acknowledge and celebrate that our engagement throughout Victoria takes place on the sacred land and waterways of the many cultural groups of the Aboriginal Peoples of Victoria. For tens of thousands of years these lands and waterways have been cared for under cultural lore and customs.

Australia’s First Peoples have never ceded sovereignty and are the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent. We acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People have suffered personal harm, cultural dislocation and dispossession since colonisation.

This past has resulted in First Nations Peoples becoming one of the most disadvantaged peoples within our society and we are committed to action to close this gap.

Righting the wrongs of dispossession requires a commitment to truth telling about the past so justice, equity and reconciliation can be experienced by all peoples of Victoria.

We commit ourselves to listen and walk with the First Peoples in the true spirit of Makarrata: coming together after this long painful struggle for recognition, true justice and full flourishing for all Australians.

…the Church herself in Australia will not be fully the Church that Jesus wants her to be until you have made your contribution to her life and until that contribution has been joyfully received by others. Pope St John Paul II, Alice Springs 29 November 1986 Adopted by Council at Catholic Social Services Victoria, October 2018

Pope St John Paul II, Alice Springs 29 November 1986

Adopted by Council at Catholic Social Services, October 2018

Engagement with the 2023 Voice to Parliament Referendum

Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) made significant efforts to engage positively with the Voice to Parliament Referendum and continues to support the requests of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The invitation of this Statement is to embrace the calls of our First Nations Peoples for a just future, a means of recognition and a way forward for healing and learning together. CSSV also recognises truth telling and treaty as being vitally important in the broader work of reconciliation. We must continue to make meaningful reparation for the past and to build a better future. In 1986 Pope John Paul ll addressed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples pronouncing “Certainly, what has been done cannot be undone. But what can now be done to remedy the deeds of yesterday must not be put off till tomorrow.” While the referendum was not successful, CSSV remains committed to walking alongside our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters in seeking a just future.

CSSV released a statement in February 2023 on it’s position on the Voice to Parliament – Relentlessly Pursuing Reconciliation. This statement can be downloaded below.

‘A Letter to My Grandchildren’ – Vicki Clark, OAM

Vicki Clark OAM is a CSSV Life Member. She shared a letter to her grandchildren at a joint Garratt Publishing and Opening The Doors Foundation event on the 2023 referendum. Vicki’s letter is addressed to her grandchildren to be read in 2040 reflecting on the significance of the referendum’s outcomes and her hopes for the future.

Voice to Parliament Resources

The following resources were collated in learning more about a Voice to Parliament:

Catholic perspectives on reconciliation and the Uluru Statement from the Heart:

CSSV Articles

CSSV Services Providers that assist our work with First Nations people

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