For thousands of years before the arrival of Western settlers [in Australia], the sole inhabitants of the land were indigenous peoples, the ABORIGINES AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS. Their ancient heritage forms an essential part of the cultural landscape of modern Australia. Thanks to the Australian Government's courageous decision to acknowledge the injustices committed against the indigenous peoples in the past, concrete steps are now being taken to achieve reconciliation based on mutual respect. Rightly, you are seeking to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians regarding life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity! This example of reconciliation offers hope to peoples all over the world who long to see their rights affirmed and their contribution to society acknowledged and promoted.
Pope Benedict XVI, world Youth 2008