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Julie

Julie Buxton

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: Victoria Social Welfare > Indigenous
To explore truth and reconciliation models to acknowledge cultural rights of Indigenous Australians - South Africa, UK, USA, Canada, Sweden
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Conclusions and recommendations

If there was any doubt before I left for my Churchill Fellowship, I returned to Australia convinced that there is indisputable value in acknowledging the truth through a Survivor-focused lens and in supporting processes and organisations that seek to achieve this result. With the right framework, governance, community participation and adequate resourcing, truth-telling processes can deliver benefit for individuals and their families who have suffered historic wrongs, and those who continue to suffer from their ongoing legacy. Truth-telling processes can also stimulate dialogue between diverse groups, spawn creativity and promote broader social change.

What this means for the establishment of a truth commission in Australia and how this might be achieved were far more complicated questions to answer and the establishment of such a truth commission necessarily requires much forethought and planning.

Recommendation

My single recommendation is that Australia should be highly responsive to the request for a truth-telling process as set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Support and resources should be provided to enable the preparatory work to be done by Indigenous leaders and community members as to the establishment and design of a truth-telling process. The process could both acknowledge Indigenous history and the ongoing legacy of colonial oppression, as well as honour the vibrancy and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, spirituality and traditional knowledge.

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