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Indigenous

As we mark the start of NAIDOC week, The Close the Gap Campaign celebrates the resilience, beauty, culture, and pride of First Nations Australians.

National Close the Gap Campaign 2 mins read
Close the Gap Co-Chairs nKarl Briscoe - CEO NAATSIHWPnCommissioner Katie Kiss - AHRC

“We stand today, proudly echoing the voices of our ancestors, whose strength, fight and sacrifice has enabled us to be here today, keeping the fire burning” says Co-Chair of the Close the Gap Campaign, Karl Briscoe.

Since the arrival of the British empire, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have actively resisted the colonial power, fought for social justice, and used the winds of change to propel our nation forward. All this we have done within the confines and during consecutive periods of colonisation, extermination, assimilation and into the backdrop of what is colloquially referred to as black arm band history. 

We do this today, says Commissioner Katie Kiss, Co-Chair of the Close the Gap Campaign, “in a highly divisive arena, where the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are so often politicised, disrespected and governed through paternalistic and harmful policy”. She continued “For more than two centuries we have never ceded our land, fought for our inherent rights as first nations peoples and always pushed forward on our march towards justice for all”.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders have walked off cattle stations and pearl luggers to fight for fair and equal wages. Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students participated in Freedom Rides to shine a light on the segregation and racial discrimination faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Together, we rallied the nation for the 1967 referendum, created Aboriginal Medical Services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to better serve our peoples. Community leaders established the tent embassy to protest governments and their mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to assert our political rights. And of course, there are those who have used the power of the judicial system to claim what is already ours, land and sea rights and native title.

From resistance since first contact to the Uluru Statement, we have called for a better vision of this country, and put our blood, sweat and tears into bringing that vision into reality. After the 2023 referendum, our leaders took centre stage and reminded us that even though the referendum failed, we will persevere.

For centuries we have kept the fire burning, using the most influential power we have, our voices. And here we are, almost 240 years later, using the same power, our collective voices, and the might of the pen to record our histories, to share our culture and to write ourselves and our achievements into the Australian story.

Equality, justice, giving and returning, building and sharing a society that values everyone, everywhere, equally; these concepts are intrinsically embedded in these lands. We understand that in the same way that the stars chart their own path across the sky -our march towards justice, no matter how long or far- is inevitable. Because this has been the dream of this country, since time immemorial.

We thank everyone, all those throughout our history, all those who are with us today, who have given all of themselves to bring this dream into reality. To those who have kept the fire burning, we thank you and we see you, Blak, Loud and Proud.


Contact details:

Media request to be submitted to 

Zara Pitt - EO CTG Campaign

zara@naatsihwp.org.au 0433 416 555

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