FIRST PEOPLES

a-destiny-together-canberra

 

Christ has called us into a community of justice where all are free to contribute and to share one another’s burdens.  The Uniting Church respects the rights and dignity of our first people.

A Covenant Relationship

A leading edge in our justice work is the Uniting Church’s efforts to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians together and to support the First People’s primarily through our covenant relationship with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC or ‘Congress’). The role of the Congress is to lead the church in ministry and solidarity work with the First People, including oversight of Uniting Church ministry with them.

At its 7th Assembly the Uniting Church formally entered into a relationship of Covenant with its Indigenous members, recognising and repenting for the Church’s complicity in the injustices perpetrated on Australia’s Indigenous community, and pledging to move forward with a shared future. Congress’ generous response to this statement, among other messages, called upon the broader Church to take up the mission of reconciliation.

The ongoing and continually renewing nature of the Covenant calls the Uniting Church to continually act to remove the systems and structures of discrimination and oppression in Australia.

(UnitingJustice: About Justice for Indigenous Australians)

The Uniting Church works for just, inclusive and equal relationships, recognising the place of First Peoples in Australia.

The Social Justice Commission 

  • supports the recommendations of the 1997 Bringing Them Home Report, and actively supports Bringing Them Home WA
  • supports the Close the Gap campaign  to end the health and life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians;
  • supports policies which respect self-determination and the ability and desire of Indigenous people to themselves address disadvantage (without the imposition of solutions by outside welfare and government bodies); actively supports the Beananging Kwuurt Institute
  • supports culturally appropriate Indigenous governance in the form of a representative body, elected by the Indigenous community.
  • supports the Recognise campaign to address the historical exclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from Australia’s Constitution, removing discrimination.
  • We support the Boab Network The Boab Network is a sub-committee of the Creative Living Centre, a registered not-for-profit Charity with its own constitution and Board which answers to the Council of the Floreat Uniting Church.The Boab Network’s role with the Mowanjum Community includes a number of different programs to assist the community in achieving its goals of economic independence and social sustainability through the education of its young people.

Prominent Issues

Speaking Out Against Closure of Remote Communities

The Moderator, Rev Steve Francis and the Chair of the Uniting Aboriginal Christian Congress in WA, Rev Sealin Garlett, have co-signed this open letter to the people of Western Australia regarding the planned closure of remote Aboriginal Communities by the State Government. Please read the letter above outlining a number of the key reasons why it is vital to maintain these communities.

Rev Francis and Rev Garlett were also quoted in this Media Release put out by the Uniting Church in Western Australia and the Uniting Aboriginal & Islander Christian Congress WA.

3 Strikes Mandatory Sentencing – Media Release

The Uniting Church in WA and the Uniting Aboriginal & Islander Christian Congress WA have also expressed their concerns about the move to strengthen the 3 strikes mandatory sentencing laws in Western Australia. The Moderator, Rev Steve Francis and the Chair of the UAICC in WA, Rev Sealin Garlett, were quoted in this Media Release about their concerns over the efficacy of mandatory sentencing and the likely impact on Aboriginal young people who are already incarcerated at record levels in WA.