The President of the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA), Stuart McMillan, has called on governments state and federal to speed up negotiation of treaties that recognise Indigenous sovereignty.
In a video message released to coincide with 26 January, Stuart has urged all Australian governments “to give First Peoples a voice into the political processes which affect their lives.”
“First Peoples in Australia have not only survived but they have withstood injustice and today stand proud.”
Since 2015, the Uniting Church has been exploring what recognising sovereignty and treaty for its partners in the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.
Stuart’s message references the words of the Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody song, From Little Things Big Things Grow, about Vincent Lingiari and the Wave Hill walk off:
“…power and privilege cannot move a people, who know where they stand and stand in the law.”
In 2010 the Uniting Church added a Preamble to its Constitution to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of Australia and to confess the church’s complicity in their dispossession and assimilation.
Stuart said that the Uniting Church stood proudly alongside First Peoples in their pursuit of justice, particularly the brothers and sisters of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC).
Recalling the words of UAICC founder, Rev Charles Harris, Stuart said there was still so much work to do in advocating for peace and breaking down the walls of racism.
Watch Stuart’s 2018 Survival Day Message here: