Speech Pathology Australia: In This Together
On 3 June 2019, Speech Pathology Australia delivered a formal apology to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia. In the apology, the Association recognised the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the face of historic and current injustices and acknowledged that colonisation and institutional racism have resulted in a society where there is inequity between the health, educational and wellbeing outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians. One year on and the Association remains steadfast to the commitments it made in the Apology and in the Speech Pathology Australia Reconciliation Action Plan.
In National Reconciliation Week it is important to reflect on the meaning of reconciliation, and how it can be achieved.
“Reconciliation must transcend Australian political theatre and promote a sense of national unity. All Australians should feel, as a nation, connected to the tens of thousands of years of human occupation of the Australian continent and surrounding Islands.”
(Reconciliation Australia, 2016, p2)
Speech Pathology Australia believes that reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians. The theme of Reconciliation Week 2020 is “In This Together”, a theme that should resonate strongly with all Australians. To achieve genuine reconciliation, Speech Pathology Australia believes we all need to be in this together to develop and strengthen relationships built on acknowledgment and respect, and free of racism.
To this end, Speech Pathology Australia recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of this land and acknowledges that these peoples were dispossessed, persecuted and oppressed as a result of colonisation in Australia. Speech Pathology Australia is committed to this ‘truth-telling’ and working toward developing our members’ understanding of how these histories continue to shape contemporary Australian society and to ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their cultures are treated with dignity and respect at all times.
The Association, through its commitment in establishing its Reconciliation Action Plan and ongoing consultation and collaboration with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee, continues to seek guidance and recommendations on matters that may impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the Association and provision of services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The artwork for our Reconciliation Action Plan Gin-ow-ay Nambur 'To give, talk' (Gunnai Language) by artist, Dixon Patten aptly reflects the theme for this year’s National Reconciliation Week of In this Together. It depicts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people coming together with the pathways representing two-way learning and walking in reconciliation.
Speech Pathology Australia recognises that reconciliation is a work in progress, a work that is the responsibility of all members and staff. The Association remains committed to embedding the concept of reconciliation in decision-making and actions that matter to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia.