15 Feb 2018: IAA Relationship Manager Richard Hurst attended Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, on 14 February where Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven launched the Institute of Religion Politics and Society’s leadership series with a dialogue about faith, leadership and politics.
Their conversation coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Australian Parliament’s Apology to the stolen generation. Much of the conversation was centered around the Apology and what has happened in the intervening 10 years, including the setting of the Close the Gap measures and targets.
Talking about the “the great difficult challenge of reconciliation,” Mr Rudd reflected on the various markers on the yet to be completed road to reconciliation – the 1967 referendum, the Aboriginal Lands Rights Act (Northern Territory) of 1976, Native Title Act 1993, the establishment of National Sorry Day in 1998 and the National Apology in 2008. He said that “each step has seemed very hard to do, until it was done.” Mr Rudd extended this rationale to the call for an Indigenous legislative voice in parliament, simply saying that the government should “find a way.”
The session was followed by a morning tea attended by students, staff and members of the local Aboriginal community. Upstairs in the Jim-baa-yer Indigenous Student Centre, tutors giving support to Indigenous students attended a Cultural awareness workshop and information session ahead of the new teaching year.
“It was great to be invited along, as I see that practical support such as tutoring is crucial to a student’s confidence, development and learning experience” Richard said.