Reconciliation Day: Why is the ACT the only jurisdiction that has a public holiday today?

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun15,2024
Across Australia, Monday marks the beginning of National Reconciliation Week, a time for celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in Australia and fostering reconciliation.
While the week is significant in all jurisdictions, the ACT is the only one to take it a step further with a public holiday.

Here’s what you need to know about Reconciliation Day.

What is Reconciliation Day?

Reconciliation Day is a public holiday in the ACT and marks the start of
A free Canberra community event will be held in Commonwealth Park to celebrate and showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

The event will include musical and dance performances, children’s activities, panel discussions and cultural activities.

When is Reconciliation Day?

Reconciliation Day is held on the first Monday on or after 27 May each year.

It was held for the first time on 28 May 2018.

Why does the ACT have a public holiday?

Reconciliation Day is a legislated public holiday in the ACT, but not in any other states or territories.
In 2017, the ACT passed the Holidays (Reconciliation Day) Amendment Bill 2017, with the bill supported by all parties.

It marked Australia’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-focused public holiday.

What is National Reconciliation Week?

is a time for Australians to learn about shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how people can contribute to achieving reconciliation, according to Reconciliation Australia.

The week runs from 27 May to 3 June, with the dates commemorating the successful 1967 referendum and the Mabo Decision respectively.

The referendum repealed which saw Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples excluded from Australia’s population, and saw the removal of “other than the Aboriginal race” from
The Mabo decision recognised the ownership Meriam people, led by Eddie Mabo, had over their homeland, Mer Island.
Reconciliation Week was launched by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 1996, and it is now overseen by Reconciliation Australia.

The theme for National Reconciliation Week is Now More Than Ever.

According to Reconciliation Australia, the theme is “a reminder to all of us that no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will — and must —continue.”
2024 marks the first Reconciliation Week since the 2023 Voice to Parliament referendum was defeated.
“Now more than ever, the work continues,” the Reconciliation Australia website reads.
“In treaty-making, in truth-telling, in understanding our history, in education, and in tackling racism. We need connection. We need respect. We need action. And we need change.  

“Now more than ever, we need reconciliation.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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