Reconciliation

Reconciliation

Reconciliation activities
Reconciliation is the act of bringing into agreement or harmony. In an Australian context, reconciliation is the bringing together of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with Australians of other descent.

Contributing towards reconciliation

As Australia’s premier medical research institute we aim to contribute towards reconciliation through activities that work towards ‘closing the gap’ in life expectancy, disease incidence and mortality.

Our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2016-18 demonstrates our commitment and has received endorsement from Reconciliation Australia.

We aim to:

  • Build relationships to encourage future collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to develop research programs and initiatives.
  • Develop a culture of respect towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to engage in appropriate consultation and involvement.
  • Work to ensure our organisation is accessible to all Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Demonstrating our commitment

Our Reconciliation Action Plan Annual Report 2014-2015 presents an outline of the successful implementation of our first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan 2014-15 (RAP). Our Reflect RAP provided a clear framework to help shape our reconciliation agenda and take us on the next stage of our reconciliation journey.

Supporting constitutional recognition

We are lending our support to the drive to establish a First Nation’s voice to Parliament that is enshrined in the constitution. The Institute made this submission to the Joint Select Committee Inquiry into Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in June 2018.

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute submission to the Joint Select Committee Inquiry into Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research is the oldest medical research Institute in Australia. The Institute conducts medical research in three key areas: cancer, immune disorders and infectious diseases. With over 1000 staff and 14 research divisions supported by professional services teams we reflect a cross-section of the Australian community including overseas nationals who have come to our country to study and work.

In 2013, the Institute made the decision to join Reconciliation Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program in recognition of the need to make a formal commitment to reconciliation. A key driver for this commitment was to ensure we play an active role in achieving health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In order to understand how we can best lend our voices, knowledge and resources in the journey towards reconciliation we must listen to and learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We strive to create a culture of respect, increase awareness and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and connection to this land, and to build strong community relationships. It is through this process that we will be enabled to contribute to closing the gap in life expectancy and disease burden.

We believe that all people in our communities should benefit from the great things that our country has to offer, including equality of access and outcome in health and education, and that every person should have a say in decisions that directly affect them. It is in this spirit that we stand with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the quest to establish a First Nations voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution, as outlined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We also support the formation of the Makarrata Commission to further strengthen the process of reconciliation in this country. Many lines of evidence tell us that health is closely linked to social, economic, cultural and historic factors and this will permeate our efforts at all levels to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Acknowledgement of country wall panel
A permanent acknowledgement of the Traditional Owners has been installed on the Institute's galleria timeline

 

Students stand in small groups, wearing casual clothing, in front of poster boards, large windows are seen in the background

A community of researchers, students and professional service staff working in an environment that develops engaged and productive members.

Photo of childcare centre building from the front

The Institute has built a 100-place early learning centre for families in our community.