Beyond the Mourning Gate: Dealing with Unfinished Business

Monday, 22 May 2000
Patrick Dodson

Patrick Dodson's 2000 Wentworth Lecture discusses the origins of Aboriginal rights campaigning, and the culmination of the 10-year process of reconciliation enabled by the Parliament through the Council for Reconciliation Act 1991. The Act provided the first serious opportunity for the nation to establish a new relationship with Indigenous Australians, to be expressed and acknowledged in Australia's law, societal practice and Constitution in the future.

Providing context through discussion of the 1938 Day of Mourning and Protest, Dodson notes that "From a cultural position, the only way that the mourning period can be ended is when the proper protocols and practical arrangements have been carried out. When the people who have had a wrong or an injustice done to them have been accommodated by the action of those responsible. Then we can come together as friends and mates."