Title

Social Justice Statement Launched at Notre Dame Broome Campus

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 9-27-2006

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Broome

Publication Place

Broome

Abstract

The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Broome Campus hosted the launch of the Australian Bishops Social Justice Statement entitled ‘The Heart of Our Country Dignity and Justice for our Indigenous Sisters and Brothers’ on September 19 in the campus’ Graduation Square.

About 50 people attended the launch of the document that reflected on Pope John Paul II’s address to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders during his visit to Alice Springs in 1986.

The Bishop of Broome, the Most Rev Christopher Saunders said “the document offers a platform to re evaluate ourselves as a Church and as a nation.

“It is an expression of solidarity and continuing hope for the aspirations and rights of Australia’s first peoples.”

Notre Dame’s TEP coordinator Br Shane Wood said the statement was an honest appraisal of progress made on the issues that were seen as needing action 20 years ago in both the Church and the nation as a whole.

“It also provides some suggestions for what is still left to be attempted and achieved in the journey towards reconciliation in Australia today,” he said.

Notre Dame’s Broome Campus Aboriginal Studies coordinator Assoc Professor Lyn Rodriquez said the statement was an open and honest explanation as to what was happening to the heart of the country.

“Not only does this 2006 Social Justice statement acknowledge the wrongs of the past, in the way Indigenous peoples were treated and the manner in which the land was taken, but it also affirms for us our efforts in trying to maintain and practise the philosophy and work of reconciliation,” she said.

Broome Campus students, Tony Delaney and Magdalene Aragu also endorsed the Social Justice Statement during their speeches.

Ms Aragu spoke of the need to resist blame and Mr Delaney emphasised the need for education to heal the wounds of the past.

The launch was opened by Yawuru elder Cissy Djaigween who gave an emotional account of her meeting with Pope John Paul II in Alice Springs 20 years ago.