Jun 23, 2010

Welcome to Country now part of Australia’s democracy

All openings of future Federal Parliaments will now be opened with a ‘Welcome to Country’ by Traditional Indigenous Owners, after the Federal Government simultaneously moved motions in the House of Representatives and the Senate, amending Standing Orders.

These amendments now allow for the incorporation of this ancient cultural tradition into Australia’s democracy.

This Welcome to Country ceremony would take place at the first meeting of a new Parliament, after a Federal election.

A Welcome to Country is performed by the traditional owner of the land on which Parliament stands.

It recognises the role of Australia’s First Peoples as custodians of the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

As a long time honoured Indigenous tradition, it pre-dates the arrival of Europeans to Australia and was used between different groups of Australia’s First Peoples.

It’s a simple act but at its heart is respect.

The Australian Parliament witnessed the first Aboriginal Welcome to Country in the opening of this Parliament in February 2008.