When Kevin Rudd stood up in the House of Representatives on February 13, 2008, and delivered the long-awaited apology to the Stolen Generations, something remarkable happened. Or, to be more precise, didn't happen. The sky did not fall in.
And, when on December 7, 2017, following a national plebiscite, Parliament voted to legalise same-sex marriage, the vault of heaven also remained firmly in place.
Despite years of Chicken Little-like warnings from conservatives that neither the apology nor same-sex marriage were either desirable or necessary, and that both of them could lead to dire - but generally unspecified - consequences, the passage of time has shown they were two small steps on the long road to a more egalitarian, inclusive and representative Australia.
They, like the original 1967 referendum vote, were proof Australia is a nation of people guided by conscience, and who respect and value the rights and concerns of others. That sense of social cohesion and responsibility was to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic and, despite claims by individuals and governments to have "saved Australia", was our most powerful weapon in that fight.
This is why, even though he admits it won't be easy, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's pledge to embrace the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which marked its fifth anniversary on Thursday, has resonated with so many.
He put the call for a First Nations' voice to Parliament to be enshrined in the constitution at the front and centre of his acceptance speech on Saturday night saying: "All of us ought to be proud that amongst our great multicultural society we count the oldest living continuous culture in the world".
While Mr Albanese is the third Australian Prime Minister to be tasked with responding to the Uluru Statement, calls for a voice and a Makarrata, or treaty, he is the first who has not shirked the responsibility. Both Mr Turnbull, who didn't believe in Australians enough to think they would vote for a First Nations voice, and Mr Morrison were content to kick the can down the road.
While Ken Wyatt, Australia's first Indigenous Indigenous Affairs Minister, worked tirelessly to win support for the cause, he never had the wholehearted backing of Coalition MPs. The pandemic didn't help matters either.
This means Mr Albanese and Australia's second Indigenous minister for Indigenous Affairs, Linda Burney, are in a position to make history by bringing this long-held dream to fruition.
While they are both going to have their work cut out in achieving multi-lateral support within the Parliament and coming up with a model that satisfies a significant majority within the Indigenous community these problems are not insoluble if approached from a position based on fairmindedness and goodwill.
The argument for the voice, as expressed by Mr Albanese on Thursday, is a simple one: "We didn't have Terra Nullius ..." he said. "A Voice to Parliament is just a matter of respect. It's a generous statement saying that where issues affect Indigenous people they should be consulted. It's not a third chamber, it's not a right of veto, it's just about good manners".
The Voice, like this government's commitment to bringing the Biloela family home, ramping up our engagement with the South Pacific, not conducting a slash and burn raid on the APS, and implementing all the recommendations of the Jenkins Report, marks a refreshing change of direction.
And, as Mr Albanese observed on Thursday, "When it happens, people will wonder what the fuss was about. We will just be a more inclusive nation when we do it".
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.