Respect, Relationships, Reconciliation

Reconciliation Australia

The 3Rs modules are underpinned by the values embodied in the title: mutual respect, positive relationships between people and reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians.

The following short film was produced by Reconciliation Australia to explore the theme of National Reconciliation Week 2016 — Our History, Our Story, Our Future. It provides an insightful glimpse into the values of respect, relationships and reconciliation and their important connection to the stories of our past, our present and our future.



Showing respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can be demonstrated by seeking opinion from a wide range of Elders and other community members.

Respect refers to the way an individual treats others. Showing respect occurs in many ways, such as waiting to speak, not asking too many direct questions, ensuring that people are not made to feel uncomfortable or uneasy, and generally showing regard for the ideas, beliefs and cultures of others (New South Wales Department of Education and Training 2003, p. 14).

Relationships and interconnectedness underpin Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of thinking, being, relating and seeing. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and kinship connections are essential to wellbeing.


The way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected. The state of being connected by blood or marriage. The way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave towards each other (Oxford Dictionary).

All students require an understanding of contemporary, inter-cultural relationships that includes:

  • relationships to family
  • relationships to country and place
  • relationships to sea and sky


The action of making one view or belief compatible with another (Oxford Dictionary).

In these modules, reconciliation refers to a process of building relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous peoples that enables us to work together to close gaps in equality, and to achieve a shared sense of fairness and justice.

To provide a framework for meaningfully defining and measuring reconciliation, Reconciliation Australia, the national expert body on reconciliation, released its landmark report The State of Reconciliation in Australia in 2016. Based on a comprehensive review of reconciliation in Australia and internationally, the report identifies five critical dimensions that, together, constitute a holistic picture of reconciliation. These dimensions are historical acceptance, race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, and unity.

Related content

Unit Glossary


Glossary of terms related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, cultures and studies of education.

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Aboriginal kinship module

Kinship relationships

Activity: Exercises to demonstrate the importance of relationships in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander society.

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Respectful relationships

Timeline of Indigenous Australia

Activity: Review significant events in the Reconciliation Australia Share Our Pride time line.

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New South Wales Department of Education and Training, Professional Support and Curriculum Directorate 2003, Aboriginal education K-12: resource guide, Dept of Education and Training, Sydney.