Reconciliation is not a destination, but a journey.
It is not an easy task, or a quick one. Very few things that are important or meaningful are.
Change worth having takes time.
A grown-up nation can look itself square in the mirror, recognise mistakes made in the past and own them.
I write this on National Sorry Day, the anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report.
A report that made the pain so many First Nations people suffered undeniable. The misplaced policies of forced removal of Aboriginal children were finally seared into the nation's story.
It helped many Australians overcome what Paul Keating identified in his Redfern speech as "the failure to imagine these things being done to us".
It drew a line in the sand - no one could say "I didn't know".
This work of reconciliation is work that we must do together. It does not fall to others, but to all of us.
The next big step in our national journey of reconciliation is making sure voices pushed to the margins for too long are heard loud and clear.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a generous and inclusive offer for all Australians to build a more reconciled future together.
It calls for a Makarrata Commission to oversee a process of truth-telling and treaty-making. Two tasks essential for building a better future which recognises how our present is shaped by our past.
It also calls for a First Nations Voice to the Parliament.
Its role would be to advise on legislation and programs that impact First Nations people. It would be a simple, common decency.
It would mean lawmakers would have a moral responsibly to listen to First Nations people - and to consider our diverse views and experience before making decisions that affect us.
The Voice needs to be enshrined in our constitution to create permanent accountability that cannot simply be swept aside by a government if it becomes inconvenient to hear First Nations Australians.
The hurdle for constitutional change in Australia is high: a majority of people in a majority of states.
I believe Australia is ready for the national conversation about a Voice to Parliament in our constitution. And I believe Australians will support this modest, but very meaningful change.
Everyone will have a role to play - community groups, corporates, individuals. It will take more than tweets or statements of support. It will take action, from each of us.
That is what happened 55 years ago today. In the lead-up to the 1967 referendum, Australians came together and decided to work for change. The result was the most overwhelming Yes vote in a referendum in Australia. More than 90 per cent of Australians voted to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian population.
People around the country remember how that vote made them feel. For First Nations people it meant we knew our country valued and wanted us, in a way we hadn't been wanted for too much of Australia's past.
It meant all - whether First Nations or not - Australians could look each other proudly in the eye and know that together we had built a better future for our country based on the shared values of fairness and equality.
It was a proud day for all Australians.
Labor's commitment to a referendum on a Voice to Parliament was supported at the election - and it is the next big step on the path to reconciliation.
Today I am asking for your support in this important endeavour.
Because the day we vote Yes for a Voice to Parliament will be another day we will remember with pride as a moment we together built a better future for Australia.
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