By Matt Keogh MP

11 November 2020

Always was, always will be—the land on which we meet today is that of the Ngunawal and Ngambri people, and the land I'm from is that of the Whadjuk people of the great Noongar nation of south-western Australia. As we celebrate NAIDOC Week this week, we reflect that this always was and always will be the land of our First Nations peoples, who have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. As Australians, we are all spiritually and culturally connected to this country—some of us, for generations; some of us, maybe for only some months. But all of us as Australians are now sharing in this long and continuous cultural heritage.

Last week, I visited the Goodstart early learning centre in Canning Vale, as part of their NAIDOC Week celebrations and to discuss reconciliation. When we have done something wrong to our friends, it's important that we say sorry so that we can all be friends again. The kids agreed that, when we've done something wrong, we need to say sorry and that we need to accept everyone for who they are. That means accepting each other for our differences and our similarities and valuing the contributions we all make. I told them that this is all part of reconciliation.

So why is it that, in this NAIDOC Week, in this, our nation's parliament—the place where 'Sorry' was said on behalf of all Australians—we're still not able to recognise all Australians through displaying all of Australia's national flags, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags?