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Reconciliation Week

An Aboriginal leader recently told me that reconciliation requires telling the truth and then genuinely listening to what people say they need. Based on these principles, I fully support the request by local Aboriginal leaders for a formal board of inquiry to investigate the over-representation of their people in Canberra’s criminal justice system. They have every right to ask why the ACT has Australia’s highest ratio of incarceration for Indigenous people.

Embedding these principles of reconciliation can produce real change. When New Zealand’s child protection system was removing very high numbers of Māori kids, the government there got the facts and then genuinely listened to what Māori families said they needed. This resulted in a new approach (the Family Group Conference), which halved the number of kids in care and protection. I am committed to seeing similar genuine reforms happen here, for the benefit of Indigenous Canberrans and everyone else.

Click on the arrow button to read my speech.


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