Constitutional reform and Indigenous peoples

Project Directors: Megan Davis, Dylan Lino

Click here to read the Nation's Apology to the Stolen Generations

In 2007, both sides of politics now agree that when it comes to addressing Indigenous disadvantage, the practical and the symbolic are two sides of the same coin.  This project has two themes: constitutional reform and second, reconciliation.

The first phase of this project will involve a critical examination of all the suggested ideas and frameworks for constitutional reform in Australia and will also involve research into extra-parliamentary representation for Indigenous peoples including an analysis of the challenges that have arisen from comparative examples particularly for Indigenous women. The second phase of this project will involve an examination of the Reconciliation process in Australia, drawing upon comparative processes for reconciliation and creating a framework for addressing Unfinished business in Australia building upon the work of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and Reconciliation Australia.

For additional information please refer to our Resource page  'Constitutional Reform and Indigenous Peoples'

Relevant publications:


Davis, Megan, ‘Constitutional Recognition Does Not Foreclose on Aboriginal Sovereignty’ (2012) 8(1) Indigenous Law Bulletin 12

Watson, Irene,  ‘The Future Is Our Past: We once were sovereign and we still are’ (2012) 8(3) Indigenous Law Bulletin 12

Williams, George,  ‘Does Constitutional Recognition Negate Aboriginal Sovereignty?’ (2012) 8(3) Indigenous Law Bulletin 10


ILC Research Brief No. 3, 2010 Constitutional Reform and Indigenous Peoples: Options for Amendment to the Australian Constitution

ILC Research Brief No. 2, 2010 Constitutional Reform and Indigenous Peoples


Davis, Megan, ‘A Culture of Disrespect: Indigenous Peoples and Australian Public Institutions’ (2006) 8 University of Technology Sydney Law Review 137

Davis, Megan,  ‘Chained to the Past: The Psychological Terra Nullius of Australia’s Public Institutions’ in Tom Campbell, Jeffrey Goldsworthy and Adrienne Stone (eds), Protecting Rights without a Bill of Rights: Institutional Performance and Reform in Australia (Ashgate, 2006) 175

Davis, Megan, ‘Treaty, Yeah?The utility of a treaty to advancing reconciliation in Australia’ (2006) 31 Alternative Law Review 127

Davis, Megan, ‘Don’t mention the “S” word: A Response to Henry Reynolds’ (2006) 6 Macquarie Law Journal 14

Davis, Megan, ‘Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights’ (2006) 5 Journal of Indigenous Policy 35


Davis, Megan, ‘A Narrative of Exclusion: Indigenous Rights in Australia’ (2005) Human Rights Defender 8-10 (reprinted 2007, pp 16-18).

Davis, Megan, ‘International Human Rights Law and the Recognition of Aboriginal Customary Law’ Aboriginal Customary Laws reference, Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, 2005 (with H McGlade).

Davis, Megan, ‘Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights’, Background paper, National Reconciliation Planning Workshop, (2005)


Davis, Megan, ‘International Human Rights Law and the Domestic Treaty process’ in Treaty - Lets Get it Right! (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2003), 137

Davis, Megan, ‘The UK and the Human Rights Act: Way Forward for Australia’ (2003) 22 University of Queensland Law Journal 1-19 (with Professor George Williams).


Davis, Megan, ‘New South Wales Bill of Rights Inquiry’ (2002) 13 Public Law Review 11


Davis, Megan, ‘Mandatory Sentencing and the Myth of the Fair-go’ in Martin Nakata (ed) Indigenous Peoples, Racism and The United Nations (Common Ground Publishing, 2001), 101

Davis, Megan, ‘Mandatory Sentencing and the myth of the fair-go’ Australia Institute of Criminology (AIC): Symposium on New Responses and New Crimes: Indigenous Peoples and Crime (2001)




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