The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia has reasserted its support for self-determination for our First Peoples this NAIDOC Week 2013 and respectfully acknowledged the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions to the Federal Parliament.
The theme for NAIDOC Week (July 7 to 14) is ‘We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963’. It refers to the vision shown by the Yolngu people of Yirrkala in northeast Arnhem Land in seeking recognition for their traditional rights and ownership of their lands.
Chief Executive Dr John Falzon said: “Fifty years on, we too share a vision of an Australia in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, languages, philosophies and cultures penetrate the marrow of our institutions, our organisations, our communities and the lives of all Australians.
“It is axiomatic that justice delayed is justice denied. The absence of Constitutional recognition of the First Peoples of Australia in 2013 is a grave injustice. In many ways this absence is emblematic of the host of structural and historical injustices that the First Peoples have been, and continue to be, subjected to,” Dr Falzon said.
The National President of the St Vincent de Paul Society, Anthony Thornton, said: “While Constitutional recognition will not erase these many forms of injustice it is a matter of deep sadness and shame for us as a nation that we are faced with this further delay in taking this important step in our national journey of recognising the historical truth and honouring the First Peoples.”