Indigenous Australians: The Promise of the Future

Event status:

Join Noel Pearson and Megan Davis for a conversation that will help determine Australia’s future—the relations between its Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

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Thursday 14 June 2018 06:45 pm until Thursday 14 June 2018 08:15 pm (Add to calendar)
University Events
Presented by:
Noel Pearson, Professor Megan Davis, Ideas & Society Program
Type of Event:
Current Student: Undergraduate; Current Student: Postgraduate; Alumni; Public Lecture; Public
$30 General / $20 Alumni & Staff/ $15 Students

For the past three decades Noel Pearson has been recognised as one of Indigenous Australians’ most important leaders. But he has also come to be seen as one of our country’s most significant thinkers, notable for his intellectual penetration and originality as well as for his courage—his independence from both the Left and the Right.

In the late 1990s Noel Pearson broke through a taboo by speaking openly about the damage alcohol, drugs and welfare dependency were doing to his people. Working closely with the Cape York communities, and with an emphasis on the solid education of the young, he has pioneered an experiment aimed at finding a new way for his people: full engagement in the globalised economy without the surrender of cultural identity. In recent years he has turned his attention to the vital but still unresolved question of Indigenous constitutional recognition.

Noel was joined by Professor Megan Davis, a distinguished member of the younger generation of Indigenous leaders. As a professor of constitutional law, a member of a key United Nations Indigenous forum and a member of both the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition and then the Referendum Council, Megan has written a series of complex and powerful essays on the challenges facing Indigenous women, the struggles of her people for both self-determination and meaningful constitutional recognition, and the hopes invested in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

This was a conversation with two of our most exciting public intellectuals, on a question that will help determine Australia’s future—the relations between its Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.


Noel Pearson

Portrait photo of Noel Pearson wearing a hatNoel Pearson comes from the Guugu Yimidhirr community of Hope Vale on south eastern Cape York Peninsula. Mr Pearson is a lawyer, and Founder and Director of Strategy of the Cape York Partnership. Mr Pearson also co-founded the Cape York Land Council, and helped to establish Apunipima Health Council, Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation and Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships. Mr Pearson served as a member of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians and the Referendum Council.

Professor Megan Davis

Portrait photo of Megan Davis by Andrzej Liguz

Photo by Andrzej Liguz.

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.

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Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Clarendon Auditorium

Level 2, 2 Clarendon Street, South Wharf, VIC, 3006

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