It seems a long time ago that RQI members, including myself, attended the Australian Reconciliation Network (ARN) Roundtable held on 20 & 21 November 2012 at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). Level 15, Riverside Centre was an auspicious environment to deliberate weighty issues as we overlooked the beautiful Brisbane River and it contributed positively to the Agenda items.

After a “Welcome to Country” by Uncle Joe Kirk, Turrabal Elder we were introduced to the wonderful Ms Lisa Kingman, facilitator extraordinaire who kept us on task. An address by Leah Armstrong, CEO Reconciliation Australia (RA) gave us a positive message about Reconciliation and its organisational progress and from there we considered, debated, listened and resolved a variety of issues.

The issues/agenda items were thus; AR Network and terms of reference –

  • How we will work together and into 2013;
  • RA Strategy initiatives and challenges;
  • Workshopping our tax status;
  • Education engagement with schools;
  • State interactive presentations from South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland Reconciliation groups.

We considered an RA Workshop for National Reconciliation Week 2013 and that closed Day One – it was a solid day of work with the great PWC trolley service and grand river view. An invitation was offered to Reconciliation members to attend dinner at one of the restaurants in the South Bank Parklands precinct – an enjoyable meal with good opportunities to network with others.

Wednesday 21 November began with a review of Day one and this was followed by Constitutional Recognition with Tim Gartrell, who gave us an overview of where this is so far. A very interesting presentation that fired those of us that interested in rights of Indigenous Australians. We did a planning workshop on the same as well as other workshops that included Education Engagement with State, Catholic, and Private schools, Citizen Ceremonies, Tax Status for Reconciliation Network Donor Gift Recipients along with review and future task setting.

Queensland Reconciliation attendees included Co-Chair Aunty Heather Castledine, Co-Chair Peter Jackson, Secretary Linda Harnett, Education & Community Liaison Denise Proud, and Media Liaison Trish Parkinson.

On behalf of the RQI members a grateful thanks to RQI Co-Chair Peter Jackson, for negotiating with PricewaterhouseCoopers for the wonderful room, the wait staff – including lunch and morning & afternoon tea, secretarial support, and our fantastic facilitator all the way Melbourne. We would not have been able to participate in such auspicious surroundings if PRW had not had a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in place and such a strong commitment to Reconciliation.

Once grateful thanks, twice grateful thanks and three times grateful thanks to all who contributed including those to travelled from far and wide.

Trish Parkinson
RQI Media Liaison