On election night, Anthony Albanese – the new Prime Minister of the just elected Labor Government – began his victory speech with an acknowledgement of Country and a reiteration of his commitment to finally give the Australian people a chance to honour the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The word ‘Country’ has different meanings for people who live in this diverse land. Country can drip with the patriotism of modern Australia; it can instil thoughts of a faraway land; it can conjure a picture of rural settings, beyond the boundaries of cities and towns.
While the current media and political discourse surrounding climate change has been dominated by focus on its environmental and economic impacts, significantly less attention has been paid to the ways in which environmental damage is also inextricably linked to the destruction of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ cultural heritage and identity.
On 17 June 2020, Aboriginal land councils and traditional owner groups from across the nation came together to respond to the cultural heritage crisis highlighted by the tragic destruction of a site of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people with 46,000 years of human occupation by mining company Rio Tinto.