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News Item

Healing Day  

On the 26th of May, Australians will once again observe a national day of commemoration. Since 2005 it has been officially called our ‘National Day of Healing’. Many will, however, be better acquainted with its original iteration – ‘National Sorry Day’.  

The original National Sorry Day as it was then known, was held on the first anniversary of the tabling of the 1997 Bringing Them Home report which examined the government practices and policies surrounding the Stolen Generations and recommended support and reparations to our Indigenous population.  

Then, in 2005, accompanied by a great sense of hope, the National Sorry Day Committee renamed the day from henceforth to be the ‘National Day of Healing’, with the motion tabled in Parliament by Senator Aden Ridgeway. In his words, “the day will focus on the healing needed throughout Australian society if we are to achieve reconciliation”. 

Healing is a deeply profound and essential aspect of the Christian faith. Throughout the Bible, we see many wonderful accounts of God’s healing power and His desire to bring wholeness to humanity. Healing journeys involve listening – to each other, and in this case, to the resilient stories of Stolen Generation survivors. Healing involves kindness and compassion, understanding and empathy. But above all, true healing comes when we seek restoration from God which includes the necessity for honest repentance, which leads to forgiveness, given and received.

Barriers affecting access in remote communities to appropriate, high-quality and timely health care throughout life remain, as evidenced by the disparities in health outcomes. Some aspects of health system performance for Indigenous Australians have improved the last decade, but there is still a long way to go.  

First Nations people experience death by suicide at a significantly higher rate than their non-Indigenous counterparts. In the latest statistics, almost a quarter of all deaths for young those aged 0–24 years were by suicide (22%). For those aged 25–44 years, 19.2% of all deaths were by suicide. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians also experience a disproportionate incarceration rate. Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults make up around 2% of the national population, they constitute 27% of the national prison population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women constitute 34% of the female prison population. 

Every Australian child should have access to wholesome, quality education and employment pathways that open doors for them to live their life abundantly, as God intended. 

Our nation’s healing journey must continue until every Australian child knows they are loved, and that they each have a unique contribution to make. Their God-given gifts are what will help our nation thrive.  

On this National Healing Day, 26th May, let’s take time to pray that God will reveal to us our part in pursuing the peace, justice and reconciliation that God desires for our nation’s people. 

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