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Memento : Issue 16
6 memento january 2001 Australians in relation to identity. 'How can we move forward as a nation without addressing past injustices?', she said. 'Recognising past injustices is par t of showing our selves as a mature nation.' Natasha also emphasised the impor tance of increasing investment in education, research and development to put Australia on an equal footing with other nations in respect to the global knowledge economy. Her vision for the future involves all Australians. 'Active citizens are what will make all of this happen. Hopefully Federation events and celebrations will act as a catalyst for embracing the Australia depicted in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympics. These showed a positive, enthusiastic, creative Australia, proud of multiculturalism and confident enough to asser t its own diverse and unique identity.' Jason Yat-sen Li, international lawyer and par ticipant in the Constitutional Convention, took a broader look at the issues of justice in a worldwide setting. Jason examined fundamental questions of morality, of human spirit and frailty, and the role of law in global society. He also looked at the role of Australia and Australians in that struggle for justice. John Moriar ty, founder of the Aboriginal design company Balarinji, was one of three speakers recently invited to share their personal vision for Australia's future in a series of special talks held at our building in Canberra. John touched on his experiences as an Aboriginal Australian, which are documented in his remarkable autobiography Saltwater Fella. He spoke of his life growing up in an 'isolated corner of white society' and of his experiences as one of the many casualties of Australia's stolen generations. Deputy Chair of the Commercial Development Corporation, John talked of the impor tance of cross-cultural par tnerships to achieve a better future for Aboriginal communities and strategies for moving away from social welfare dependency. 'The year 2001 will be impor tant for all of us,' he said. 'As a nation we need to move forward in a positive way by embracing all Australian people'. Senator Natasha Stott Despoja's talk canvassed debate on the Republic, reconciliation and the stolen generations, national identity and Australia's position in the global knowledge economy. 'Australian identity is full of contradictions. This is a largely European culture in South-East Asia. We are a modern nation in an ancient land with an ancient culture, and we are taught the history of a nation where explorer s "discovered" a land which was already inhabited.' The Senator talked of the encouraging level of public suppor t for reconciliation and the impor tance of this issue to many Where to now, Australia? 'For Australia to move forward with confidence as a cohesive and mature nation we must ensure that all sections of the community play a meaningful role in the nation building process.' John Moriarty