U Ethical stands in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in recognising the injustices, dispossession and trauma that began 234 years ago on 26 January 1788. We recognise the continued impacts of colonisation through dispossession of land, disconnection from family, culture, and Country and on-going disempowerment. These include removal of children, over-representation of Aboriginal people in our prisons and a lack of engagement with native title holders for the protection of cultural heritage.
We deeply regret the legacy of past policies and practices that continue to detrimentally impact the identity, dignity, and spirit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Australians of today are not directly responsible for what happened in the past but it is a part of our shared history, and as Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians we are responsible for what happens in the future.
On the 26th of January, we stand alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. We recognise and celebrate the strength, resilience and resistance of our First Nations People. We also advocate for their path to self-determination, full participation and co-creation of the Australia of tomorrow. We recognise and respect their sacred connection to the land for over sixty millennia and we pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging, on whose land we live and work every day.
As an autonomous social enterprise of the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania we affirm that the Uniting Church in Australia has long called for a change in the date of our National Day, and has urged the Federal Government to promote community discussion directed towards finding a date for Australia Day that has greater power to unite than 26 January.
As a nation, we must find a date for a National Day which unites all Australians. A day we can celebrate this country as home to the oldest continuing culture on earth and a cultural heritage that is the pride and wealth of our nation.