The Uluru Statement from the Heart: Can Australia rise the challenge set down by First Nations at Uluru?

Professor Megan Davis1

1Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous and Professor of Law, UNSW

The formal constitutional recognition process in Australia, by year’s end, will have produced 8 reports in 8 years. And still there is no end in sight and Uluru risks being gazumped by the Australian Republican Movement.

Yet the Uluru Statement From the Heart marked a distinct departure from historical attempts and political strategies aimed at achieving structural recognition whether it be Treaty or improved democratic participation.

The road to the Uluru Statement ignored conventional wisdom on how law reform is achieved. The dialogues pivoted away from entrenched rights to political empowerment and they rejected the elite preference for deletion of the race provisions. This paper will convey the sophistication of the Indigenous community’s decision-making through the regional dialogues and query whether Australia is up to the challenge set down by Uluru.


Biography:

Professor Megan Davis is Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous and Professor of Law, UNSW. Prof Davis is an expert member of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Prof Davis is a constitutional lawyer who was a member of the Referendum Council and the Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution. Megan is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and the Australian Academy of Social Sciences and a Commissioner on the Australian Rugby League Commission. Megan supports the North Queensland Cowboys and the QLD Maroons.