UNSW Sydney has affirmed its support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and its call to enshrine a First Nations Voice in the Constitution, with a formal statement approved by the University’s Management Board.

The statement reinforces the University’s ongoing commitment to an equitable and just society. UNSW recognises that the detail of the Voice is subject to ongoing consultations involving Indigenous peoples, government and the community.

UNSW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Attila Brungs said he is proud to affirm UNSW’s support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and its call for a First Nations Voice to Parliament.

“Reconciliation is at the heart of the UNSW Indigenous Strategy 2018–2025 and the UNSW ethos of having a positive impact on the world around us,” Prof. Brungs said.

“UNSW has actively supported the process of the First Nations Voice from its early days, including through the Indigenous Law Centre and the Uluru Dialogues. UNSW proudly heeds the call of the Uluru Statement from the Heart for all Australians to walk together for a better future.”

Professor Megan Davis, UNSW’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Society and Director of the Indigenous Law Centre, has worked on constitutional recognition at UNSW Law & Justice for 20 years. Prof. Davis designed the dialogue process and the First Nations National Constitutional Convention that led to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and its call for the Voice. The Indigenous Law Centre has led the drafting of the constitutional amendment.

Prof. Davis delivered the Uluru Statement for the first time on the floor of the First Nations Constitutional Convention in May 2017, and she has since been relentless in her advocacy for the Voice to Parliament.

“By reaffirming UNSW’s commitment to supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart, my work and the work of the Uluru Dialogue will continue to educate and inform everyday Australians on this very important change to our Constitution,” Prof. Davis said. “Without this lasting change, we as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples will continue to be voiceless when it comes to informing and leading policy and societal changes on issues and matters that impact on us.”

Megan Davis

Professor Megan Davis. Photo: Andrzej Liguz

Prof. Davis and Alywarre woman Pat Anderson, who has spent decades advocating for Indigenous health, will deliver the 2023 Gandhi Oration on the Voice to Parliament on 27 February. UNSW’s Gandhi Oration invites speakers to address some of the human rights issues of our time.

Prof. Davis and Scientia Professor George Williams, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Planning and Assurance, are members of the Constitutional Expert Group established by the Australian government. Prof. Davis is also a member of the Referendum Working Group. Both groups will inform the timing of the vote and the model put to the people of Australia.

 “UNSW has a long history of support for Indigenous justice. Our people, including Megan, played a leading role in the Uluru Statement from the Heart,” Prof. Williams said. “It is fitting that UNSW is getting behind the next step in the journey by making clear its support for the Voice.”

UNSW launched the UNSW Indigenous Strategy in 2018, representing the University’s commitment to creating an environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, researchers and staff to thrive.

For more information about the Uluru Statement from the Heart, visit https://ulurustatement.org/