Day 1 - Monday 15 November

Day 1 was hosted by Luke Carroll

11:30am – 12:00pm

Opening of Convention

Join us as we kick off the first reconciliation gathering in more than 20 years with a very special opening ceremony, featuring Welcome to Country by Aunty Yvonne Weldon, Smoking Ceremony with Matthew Doyle, and performances by the Jannawi Dance Clan and Marcus Corowa. Official welcomes by Karen Mundine, Reconciliation Australia CEO, and His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.


12:00pm – 12:30pm

Opening plenary: Moving Reconciliation from Safe to Brave

Reconciliation is more than raising awareness and knowledge. As a nation, and importantly, as individuals, we need to move from ‘safe’ to ‘brave’ action to expedite change and ultimately achieve reconciliation and justice.

with Professor Tom Calma and Melinda Cilento

12:30pm – 1:30pm

Plenary: Honouring the Past

Reconciliation is an ongoing journey, a work in progress, but the progress is impressive. Let’s never lose sight of those who paved the way, of our achievements to date, and how we can build on those foundations.

Speakers: Fred Chaney, Dr Jackie Huggins, Uncle Bill Lowah and Shelley Reys
Chair: Kerry O’Brien

1:30pm – 2:15pm

Lunch - use this time to take a break, grab some lunch and explore the Virtual Gathering Place

2:15pm – 3:00pm 

Breakout stream: Reconciliation Australia 20 years on: How did we get here? How do we move forward?

2021 marks the 30th year of Australia’s reconciliation process and the national project of reconciliation continues. These sessions review key areas of work so far in education, repatriation, truth-telling and racism, and what we can learn from these efforts to move forward.

3:00pm – 4:00pm

Plenary: Moving the Dial on Racism

Australians like to be appalled by racism, but we often can’t hear the hard truths about why it is so persistent. Why is racism so hard to shift? What are the keys to a racism-free future?

Speakers: Belinda Duarte and Dr John Davis
Chair: Benjamin Law

4:00pm – 4:15pm

Daily Wrap Up

Breakout Stream 1: 2:15pm – 3:00pm

The sorry history of the gaps and silences in Australian education underscores the importance of reconciliation in education in this panel. While much has been improved there remains a critical need for structural reform in both the curriculum and in teacher education.

Speakers: Carly JiaProfessor Mark Rose and Hayley McQuire 
Chair: Sharon Davis

Session 3:
Transforming Institutions to Close the Gap
Breakout Stream 2: 3:15pm – 4:00pm

Aboriginal community-controlled organisations (ACCHOs) were, and continue to be, responses to the inability of mainstream institutions to provide culturally informed, holistic services. How are ACCHOS innovating to meet the challenge of closing the gap, and what do mainstream organisations need to learn and do better?

Speakers: Gavin Mackey and John Paterson
Chair: Janine Mohamed

Breakout Stream 1: 2:15pm – 3:00pm

Repatriation returns ancestral remains and artefacts back to Country, while empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to reclaim story, history and to strengthen culture. What is the impact of repatriation so far and what still needs to be done?

Speakers: Craig Ritchie and Wynston Shovellor-Sesar
Chair: Laura McBride

Breakout Stream 1: 2:15pm – 3:00pm

24 years on, the potential of action from the Bringing Them Home Report is unrealised. What are the direct and intergenerational impacts of the Stolen Generations and how have they shaped communities, reconciliation efforts, and Australia as a whole?

Speakers: Georgia Durmush and Ian Hamm
Chair: Donna Burns

Breakout Stream 1: 2:15pm – 3:00pm

The great Australian scourge is an inability to see the structures holding up racist beliefs and actions. This panel explores both the structures and systems that allow racism to continue, and how we can dismantle them.

Speakers: Eddie Cubillo and Tanya Hosch
Chair: Larissa Behrendt

Breakout Stream 1: 12:40pm – 1:25pm

More local communities are working together to mark previously untold and unrecognised parts of their local histories. At the same time truth-telling processes are emerging at a state level, heralding deeper reckoning with our shared history. Respectful relationships based on truth and understanding are signposts to our reconciled future. This panel examines what community truth-telling can look like and why it’s important.

Aunty Eleanor Bourke and Fiona Cornforth

Breakout Stream 1: 12:40pm – 1:25pm

Survivor-led healing acknowledges trauma and focuses on healing not just of the individual, but the community to which they are connected. Shared survivor stories show dignity and resilience and involve us all in the healing process to pave the way to make healing happen.

Speakers: Aunty Lorraine and Uncle Michael Welsh
Chair: Lisa Madden

ORGANISATIONS & AUTHENTIC TRUTH-TELLING Breakout Stream 1: 12:40pm – 1:25pm

As more corporate, sporting and other organisations embed reconciliation in their day-to-day business, truth-telling is becoming imperative to many. How are organisations holding themselves to account for past practices?

Speakers: Carmen Parahi and Chelsea Watego
Chair: Carla McGrath

Breakout Stream 1: 12:40pm – 1:25pm

In My Blood it Runs is a respectful collaboration between filmmakers, partner organisations and the families involved, to show a First Nations child’s perspective of the education system. Undertaking truth-telling in film and impact campaigns has wide-ranging consequences and learnings for all involved. What follows when the truth comes out?

Speakers: Rachel Naŋinaaq Edwardson, Maya Newell, and William Tilmouth
Chair: Jane Vadiveloo

Breakout Stream 2: 3:15pm – 4:00pm

Many schools are leading the way in making reconciliation part of everyday business. These schools talk about individual approaches to reconciliation within their classrooms, around their schools and with their communities.

Speakers: Tammy Anderson, Pamela Chatfield and Damien Messer
Chair: Catherine Trindall

Breakout Stream 2: 3:15pm – 4:00pm

First Nations governance and ingenuity are underlying strengths in prosperous First Nations organisations, businesses and economies. Business provides a path to community growth and individual aspirations. What are the paths forward for building and investing in strong futures?

Speakers: Darren Godwell and Phil Usher
Chair: Leah Armstrong

Breakout Stream 2: 3:15pm – 4:00pm

We’ve witnessed spectacular – and everyday – reconciliation failures by corporate, community and government organisations who have previously shown commitment and understanding. This session focusses on what we can learn from organisational engagement failures and considers the findings from the Independent Panel Review into the proposed Dan Murphy’s development in Darwin.

In conversation with Danny Gilbert and Siobhan Toohill

Gold partner

In 2019, the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) was established to lead and coordinate Commonwealth policy development, program design, implementation, and service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is central to the NIAA’s work – it enriches our advice to government, informs decision making, and contributes to better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The NIAA believes that action is key to reconciliation and we are currently committed to several significant items of work that directly contribute to reconciliation. Central to this is the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. The National Agreement is a new model of working together, where all governments work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders with an increased level of accountability, transparency and responsibility between all parties.

In August 2021, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP released the Commonwealth’s first Closing the Gap Implementation Plan, developed across the Commonwealth in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partners. The Implementation Plan sets a foundation for the Commonwealth’s actions over the next decade to achieve targets in the National Agreement that will have positive outcomes for Indigenous Australians and contribute to national reconciliation.

Breakout Stream 1: 12:30pm – 1:15pm

Actively listening to, learning alongside and involving children in reconciliation activities is critical to ensuring intergenerational change towards reconciliation. How are early learning services equipping children for a reconciled future?

Speakers: Karen Anderson, Kate Mount and Tess Herring
Chair: Samantha Page

Breakout Stream 1: 12:30pm – 1:15pm

Genuine engagement with First Nations stakeholders helps bridge the cultural divide, build relationships of trust and respect, and support respect for cultural heritage. How can the interests of First Peoples be protected and supported through engagement?

Speakers: Taylor Paynter and Jamie Lowe
Chair: Florence Drummond

Breakout Stream 1: 12:30pm – 1:15pm

Cutting through the racism and stereotypes in mainstream media stories about First Nations peoples requires more than hiring some more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander media workers. What are some of the fundamental changes needed from within the industry to raise the stakes on representation?

Speakers: Narelda Jacobs and Dan Bourchier
Chair: John Paul Janke

Breakout Stream 1: 12:30pm – 1:15pm

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are forging partnerships with mainstream organisations all over the country. Reconciliation Action Plan organisations have been involved in more than 13,000 of these formal and informal partnerships. What have mainstream organisations learnt from forming mutually-beneficial partnerships with Indigenous-led organisations, and how do they ensure these partnerships are transformational, rather than transactional?

Speakers: Amara Barnes and Jason Mifsud
Chair: Victoria Thom

Breakout Stream 2: 2:00pm – 2:45pm

The Narragunnawali Awards are Australia’s first and only national reconciliation in education awards for schools and early learning services. They recognise the exceptional commitment shown to reconciliation in education.

Join us as we announce the winners of this years Awards!

Hosts: Karen Mundine and John Paul Janke
Presenters: James Ensor, Sharon Davis and Geraldine Atkinson

Early Learning finalists: Balnarring Pre-School (VIC), St Peter’s Girls Early Learners Centre (SA) and Tumut Community Preschool (NSW)

Schools finalists: Briar Road Public School (NSW), Mosman Park Primary School (WA) and St Virgil’s College (TAS)



Breakout Stream 2: 2:00pm – 2:45pm

For lasting change Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must have a real say in the laws, policies and programs that affect their lives and rights. There are diverse ways in which First Peoples are represented, and there is much to be learnt from these different models and how they support the right to self-determination.

Speakers: Muriel Bamblett, Eddie Cubillo and Richard Weston.
Chair: Kirstie Parker

Breakout Stream 2: 2:00pm – 2:45pm

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are leaders, survivors, teachers and healers. They carry with them a wealth of inherited, lived and learnt expertise. Hear how these women and girls’ voices are vital to paving the way for a future all Australians want, deserve and have a right to.

In conversation with: Charlee-Sue Frail and June Oscar

Breakout Stream 2: 2:00pm – 2:45pm

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have maintained innovative and robust systems of governance for millennia. Hear about innovative systems of Indigenous governance with culture at the heart and how it supports building a self-determined future.

Speakers: Glen Kelly, Donna Murray and Peter Yu
Chair: Jahnah Cedar

Convention partner

The BHP Foundation works to address some of the world’s most critical sustainable development challenges. By working in partnership with innovative institutions who share these ambitions, we seek to raise the bar, find new solutions and set new standards for the future.

We are a charitable organization funded by BHP, a leading global resources company, and through our efforts we look to enhance the contribution the global resources sector can make to the achievement of many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

In Australia, a large part of our focus is to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organizations in their drive towards effective governance and self-determination. We understand this to be about two simple yet unrealized factors: choice and voice. Our aspiration is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities are empowered to make informed choices about their own futures and have a greater voice in decisions affecting them.  

Within Australia and across the globe, experience and research tells us that Indigenous peoples’ ability to be self-determining through exercising choice and voice is the only long-term sustainable solution to addressing issues of inequality. Voice is a foundation stone for reconciliation in Australia and is aligned with the ambitions of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We are grateful to partner with organizations such as Reconciliation Australia and the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute to support the systemic reform required to make Australia just, equal and reconciled.

Gold partner

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s purpose is to improve the financial wellbeing of our customers and communities. Through our Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), we are committed to ensuring we achieve our purpose for First Nations customers and communities every day.

We recognise the inherent right Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have to be involved in decisions that affect their community. In response, we have aligned our RAP to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and continue to prioritise consulting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities to ensure we have First Nations voices providing input into the bank’s strategies.

Supporting this is our Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC) and its Independent Chair, Wangkumarra and Barkindji man Sean Gordon. As well as guiding our reconciliation strategies, Sean also sits on our CEO’s Advisory Panel, ensuring the perspectives of First Nations peoples inform and support our overall operations. This has been particularly important during the fast evolving COVID-19 environment, ensuring we gain timely advice to best support First Nations customers and communities during difficult times.

We also acknowledge and thank the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations and individuals who have guided us through our reconciliation journey since 2008.


Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have passed away.