28 May 2019
Fourteen of Australia’s leading organisations have united for National Reconciliation Week to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which calls for the establishment of a First Nations Voice in the Constitution and a Makarrata Commission on agreement-making and truth-telling between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and governments.
The ‘Response to the Uluru Statement’ was developed by the participating organisations including, BHP, Curtin University, Herbert Smith Freehills, IAG, KPMG, Lendlease, National Rugby League, PwC Australia, PwC’s Indigenous Consulting, Qantas, Richmond Football Club, Rio Tinto, Swinburne University of Technology and Woodside, in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders within and connected to the organisations.
The response supports the call for a referendum to enable constitutional reform and encourages others to join in the national dialogue.
All of the participating organisations actively promote and support reconciliation and are among a small group of organisations that have an Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
The RAP program provides a framework for organisations to support the national reconciliation movement. There are four tiers of RAPs with Elevate being the highest level of endorsement, recognising organisations that are taking a leadership role in advancing national reconciliation. Currently, 24 organisations have an Elevate RAP out of more than 1,000 RAPs.
Karen Mundine, CEO of Reconciliation Australia, which is the organisation behind Reconciliation Action Plans, welcomes the collective effort.
“RAP organisations understand the important role that the wider Australian community has to play in progressing national reconciliation,” Ms Mundine said.
“Our research shows that an overwhelming majority of Australians support the aspirations within the Uluru Statement from the Heart. A collective public statement from our Elevate RAP partners not only demonstrates their leadership and commitment to reconciliation, but also helps to build momentum towards genuine reconciliation.”
Aboriginal leader and Alyawarre woman Pat Anderson AO said: “The Uluru Statement from the Heart was issued as an invitation to the Australian public to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.
“It is significant that the leadership of corporate Australia has accepted our invitation. I want to thank these organisations for their leadership over the years, their commitment to reconciliation and their historic support for the referendum on a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament,” said Ms Anderson.
The collective response to the Uluru Statement reads as follows.
OUR RESPONSE TO THE ULURU STATEMENT
We represent 14 diverse organisations across a range of sectors including academia, aviation, construction, energy, engineering, insurance, legal, professional services, sport and resources.
Collectively we educate, employ and provide services to people across all of Australia. Together, we make this response to the Uluru Statement from the Heart:
Thank you for your invitation to walk with you in a movement of all Australian people for a better future.
We recognise the Uluru Statement from the Heart as an historic mandate to create a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
We hear your call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution and for a referendum to amend the Constitution accordingly.
We hear your call for a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.
In a spirit of reconciliation, we look forward to working with and supporting you, as a matter of national priority, to develop and enact specific proposals in relation to Voice, Treaty and Truth.
We call upon our people, industry colleagues and fellow Australians to join us in this important national dialogue.
BHP stands side-by-side with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in support of this country hearing the call for a shared future.