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The Australian National University

Freilich Annual Lecture in Bigotry and Intolerance 2012: available online

Annual Lecture in Bigotry and Intolerance 2012

Constitutionalising racial non-discrimination: Why the Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Constitution recommended a racial non-discrimination provision in the Australian Constitution.

In delivering the 2012 Herbert and Valmae Freilich Foundation Annual Lecture on Bigotry and Intolerance, Professor Megan Davis discusses why the Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders recommended a racial non-discrimination clause in the Australian Constitution. The expert panel undertook a five month consultation period in 2011, including public meetings and a public submission process, and handed its report to the Prime Minister in January 2012. The panel was moved to recommend a racial non-discrimination based on first-hand accounts and experiences of the legacy of racial discrimination in Australia.  It was also based on the evidence of ongoing direct and indirect racial discrimination that continues today. There was also overwhelming support from the Australian public for a racial non-discrimination provision. Professor Davis will also speak about the dangers of the Australian reluctance to speak about its history of dealing with other "races".

Professor Megan Davis

Megan Davis is Professor of Law and Director, Indigenous Law Centre University of New South Wales, Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court and an expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.


Professor Davis is a member of the Australian Academy of Law and the Australian member of the International Law Association's Indigenous Rights Committee. In 2011, Megan was appointed by the federal government to the Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution. Megan teaches, writes and researches in the areas of public law and international law, especially violence against indigenous women. Megan's doctoral thesis, to be published in a forthcoming book, argues that the right to self-determination as it is recognised in international law does not pay adequate attention to the situation of Aboriginal women and explores in particular the constitutional guarantee to equality.

» Professor Davis' profile

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