What does it mean to be Australian?

By Mark Waters

Posted in News

I wake up this week looking into a cracked mirror musing upon what it means to be an Australian after the Referendum. What is our identity? What is in our psyche? Do I like what I am looking at?

A myriad of questions spring up that can be posed individually or to organisations and institutions across the country.

After over 13 years heavily involved in reconciliation and seeking Constitutional recognition for our first peoples, I realise as I look in the mirror that I am going to need to work harder on my efforts to build reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. I know that I am going to need to be more assertive in calling out both systemic and individual racism. Where I can, I need to find ways to reduce the disparity on so many social and health indicators which are enormous.

And these are matters that we should be encouraging every Australian to focus upon. Irrespective of whether or not people of voting age made an informal choice by writing ‘sovereignty’ over their ballot, or opted not to vote at all, or expressed a No or Yes vote, we all need to reflect upon what are we individually prepared to do to build a better and fairer Australia. That was the request made in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, a statement that was twice supported by Synod resolutions in South Australia in 2017 and 2019.

As pilgrim people, we hear the call of reconciliation. As a church family, we know that families sometimes go through rough patches. Now we are called to extend this love and reconciliation again across the church and the wider community. We need to work harder to understand and implement our Covenant.

Building upon the Prayer Vigil held across the country on Friday 13th October, starting with prayer is a reasonable place to commence this new journey from base camp. Prayers for our First Nations peoples. Upholding the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress and our Covenant in prayer. Praying for the Uniting Church, the Assembly and our Church leaders is important too. Our politicians are going to need to be uplifted in prayer as well. This is something that we can all do; and this UC e-news has more prayers and points for reflection to assist available at this link.

Healing and Hope remains a call for all of us. Now, we also need to heed the call to act.


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