Alice Tay Lecture in Law & Human Rights 2017: Constitutional recognition

Date & time

5.30–6.30pm Monday 27 November 2017


Conference room 1.02

Sir Roland WIlson Building, 120 McCoy Circuit, The Australian National University


A/Prof Asmi Wood, ANU College of Law


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.


Dr Melissa Lovell

Presented by Herbert and Valmae Freilich Foundation

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Constitutional Recognition: What Options Do We Have Left?

An Expert Panel appointed by Parliament in 2010 examined the issue of Constitutional Recognition and provided a comprehensive survey of the views of ATSI peoples. Their recommendations were complex, however this was clearly appropriate given the complex issues which they were seeking to address. Unfortunately, these recommendations did not get to a Referendum as planned and the subsequent Parliamentary Committees did not appear to advance the cause very much.

The recent ‘Uluru Statement From the Heart’ was perhaps a cry from what its authors described as a helpless position asking Parliament for a Voice (an advisory, non-binding voice, which Parliament could ignore at its will). Even this muffled voice was described by the government as ‘radical’ bringing a whole new (watered down) meaning to this term! This talk will briefly examine the history of how we got to this point in Indigenous affairs, suggest some ways forward and put a proposed referendum question to this audience of lay Australians. It will conclude with a quick straw poll on whether they think the suggested question will have any chance of success at a referendum.

Lecture to be followed at 6:30pm by light refreshments in the 1st floor foyer of the Sir Roland Wilson Building.


  • Asmi Wood »

    Asmi Wood’s current research and publications have centred around two main topics; firstly, Constitutional recognition of Indigenous people in Australia and secondly, Indigenous Participation in Higher Education. The Australian Parliament, both Committees and individuals, Government agencies, community organisations, schools and Indigenous groups have all used Asmi’s research to clarify key issues among staff, invited Asmi to speak at their public events and make contributions to their literature. His research has included policy papers, law reform submissions and articles or chapters in journals and books. Asmi has presented several keynote addresses to large conferences interested in Indigenous issues including on the issue of ‘recognition’.

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