Today is Australia Day.
The day coincides with the beginning of European settlement in Australia.
The celebration of Australia Day on this particular date is controversial.
There are many who out of respect for our First Nations people what to see our National Day celebrated on another date.
For a long time, there was a belief that Australia was ‘Terra Nulius’. This means that it was a land belonging to no one. Hence colonisation was justified without any real reference to the original peoples and what they wanted.
Our First Nations people have been living in this country for thousands upon thousands of years.
Our growing use of acknowledgement of the custodianship of the First Nations of this land is a healthy step to acknowledging the truth.
The current debates about a voice in parliament are also an indication of a change in understanding.
As a nation, we need to both celebrate the many good things that have happened and are happening while also acknowledging our mistakes.
There is no doubt that our First Nations peoples have suffered much wrong and injustice.
We need to all continue on the path of true reconciliation and healing to build up a nation full of the richness of diversity in the search for the common good.
This is not easy, however, it must not be ignored. The truth sets us free. We need to listen to each other and work together.
We can all do with healing for many reasons.
We also give thanks for this wonderful land and celebrate oneness in diversity.
Mutual respect is essential for our integrity.
We need to celebrate commitment and hope.
For this, I pray to the one who loves us all.