Constitutionalising racial non-discrimination

Delivering the the 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 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 clause based on first-hand accounts and experiences of the legacy of racial discrimination in Australia. The recommendation 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 such a provision. Professor Davis will speak about the dangers of Australia's reluctance to speak about its history of dealing with other 'races'. Megan Davis is a Professor of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law Centre at UNSW, Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court and an expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She is a member of the Australian Academy of Law and the Australian member of the International Law Association's Indigenous Rights Committee. In 2011, Professor Davis was appointed by the Federal Government to the Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution. Professor Davis teaches, writes and researches in the areas of public law and international law, especially violence against indigenous women.