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Curtin University
Vice-Chancellor
Note to staff

13 February 2009

 
 

Apology Anniversary

“We can today resolve together that there be a new beginning for Australia. And it is to such a new beginning that I believe the nation is now calling us…. So let us seize the day. Let it not become a moment of mere sentimental reflection. Let us take it with both hands and allow this day, this day of national reconciliation, to become one of those rare moments in which we might just be able to transform the way in which the nation thinks about itself, whereby the injustice administered to these Stolen Generations in the name of these, our parliaments, causes all of us to reappraise, at the deepest level of our beliefs, the real possibility of reconciliation writ large.”
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, 13 February 2008

On 13 February 2008, Australians everywhere stopped to hear Prime Minister Kevin Rudd deliver the national apology to the Stolen Generations. Those of you who attended the Curtin event will recall the wonderful sense of community we all experienced on that day.

On 27th May 2008, Curtin launched its Reconciliation Action Plan which is now live on the Reconciliation Australia website and Curtin’s website. This espouses Curtin’s vision and process for reconciliation: that the University be a place of learning that respects Indigenous culture and diversity and a place where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people come together to learn their chosen discipline contextualised within Indigenous culture and history. We have made excellent progress in some areas which we will be reporting later in the year.

On the first anniversary of the apology, I encourage you to remember where you were and how you felt one year ago, to reflect on what’s changed and what hasn’t, and to talk about what comes next.

Reconciliation Australia has produced a number of resources that will be useful to you as we reflect on what we have done since that day as part of our contribution. To request resources go to http://www.reconciliation.org.au.

Further resources are also available from the National Sorry Day Committee http://www.nsdc.org.au and the Stolen Generations Alliance http://www.sgalliance.org.au.

Victorian Bushfires

The crisis of the Victorian bushfires has not yet passed and it is very distressing that the loss of lives continues to climb and so many people have lost their homes. The floods in Queensland and fires in New South Wales have also wrought much havoc on the lives of many.

I am aware that many of you have family, friends and colleagues who have been seriously affected by these horrifying events and I encourage you to use our University Counselling Services on 9266 7850 if required. It is wonderful however, to see the compassion and support being offered by the Australian community to help these people.

Curtin has donated $20,000 to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal through the Australian Technology Network (ATN) universities. The ATN has agreed to contribute $100,000 to the Appeal with the funds being used to assist in the replacement of the many educational resources, such as schools and libraries, which have also been lost.

As you will be aware, individuals can donate to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal through the Red Cross on 1800 811 700 or http://www.redcross.org.au/default.asp or through the Salvation Army at http://salvos.org.au amongst many others that are now being established.

Our thoughts remain with all those who are suffering in these distressing circumstances.