On May 27 1967, Australians voted overwhelmingly to change the Australian Constitution. Provisions which prevented the Federal Government from making laws for Aboriginal people, and excluded them from being counted in the census, were removed from the Constitution.
The ‘Yes’ vote of 90.77% remains a record in the history of Australian referendums.
The 1967 Referendum is extremely significant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For many people, it represented a turning point from official discrimination.
National Reconciliation Week started as the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation in 1993 and was supported by Australia’s major religious groups.
Every year, it is held between May 27th and June 3rd.
May 27th is the anniversary of the 1967 referendum in which more than 90 per cent of Australians voted ‘Yes’ to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the census and give the Australian Government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The day before National Reconciliation Week, 26th May, is National Sorry Day, which was first held in Sydney in 1998 and is now commemorated nationally to remember and honour the Stolen Generations.
June 3rd marks the historic 1992 Mabo decision in which the High Court of Australia recognised native title.
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Renee Watson & Ellen Hagan