Please find a list of our current Key Note Speakers and Speakers for the Summit.
Please check back regularly for new speakers and other important information about the content of the Summit.
Professor Mick Dodson AM
Aboriginal Leader and Advocate for Reconciliation
Mick Dodson is a Yawuru man from the Broome area in Western Australia. He was the first Indigenous Australian to receive a law degree following studies at Monash University in Melbourne. A proud, courageous and humble Aboriginal leader, Dodson has served in a wide range of challenging roles and has been an enthusiastic advocate for social justice. He joined the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service in 1976 and became a barrister at the Victorian Bar in 1981. He assisted the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in the late 1980s and was appointed Australia’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner in 1993.
Dodson subsequently pursued an academic career and is Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at the Australian National University. Professor Dodson is a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and continues to pursue positive progress in Australian Indigenous affairs as Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia.
Chief Executive Officer of the Yawuru Corporate Group
Peter Yu is a Yawuru man from Broome in the Kimberley region in North West Australia with over 35 years’ experience in Indigenous development and advocacy in the Kimberley and at the state, national and international level. Peter was a key negotiator on behalf of the Yawuru Native Title Holders with the Western Australian State Government over the 2010 Yawuru Native Title Agreement and is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Yawuru Corporate Group.
He has been an advocate for the social, cultural and economic advancement and well-being of Kimberley and other Aboriginal communities for his entire career. He has been instrumental in the development of many community-based organisations and initiatives which have had an enduring influence on the Kimberley region. He was Executive Director of the Kimberley Land Council during the 1990s and had a national leadership role negotiating the Federal Government’s response to the 1992 Mabo High Court judgement on Native Title.
He is currently the Chair for the Indigenous Reference Group (IRG) to the Northern Ministerial Forum, Chair of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA), Deputy Chair of the AFL Aboriginal Advisory Committee, Deputy Chair of Broome Futures Alliance Ltd, Council Member of the Governing Board of the Australian National University and Committee Member for the Western Australian Aboriginal Water and Environment Advisory Group.
Tony McAvoy SC
Senior Counsel, Native Title Barrister
Tony McAvoy is a Wirdi man from the central Queensland area around Clermont. He is also a native title holder in his grandmother’s country around Thargomindah in southwest Queensland.
Tony commenced work in 1983 at the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service as an articled clerk. He studied part-time at QUT. He graduated and was admitted as a solicitor in 1988. He continued to practice as a solicitor working in private practice and at the ATSILS, with some travel, until 1994. In 1994 he was employed in a policy position in the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs, later appointed as Manager of the Heritage and Natural Resources Branch, and served 18 months as Registrar, Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983.
In January 2000 he was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of NSW. He was worked extensively in criminal law, administrative law including disciplinary tribunals, coronial inquests, discrimination law, but in recent years has largely practised in the area of native title. Tony has successfully represented the Githabul, Quandamooka, Kalkadoon, Pitta Pitta, Kullilli, Barngarla and in November 2017 the Gooreng Gooreng people in native title claims in the Federal Court.
In August 2016 he was appointed Co-Senior Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
In 2017 he was an advisor to and negotiator for the Narungga People in their treaty negotiations with the State of South Australia. He has advised on the Victoria Treaty Advancement Bill, written numerous papers and spoken nationally and internationally on treaties and truth commissions on many occasions.
In 2018 he was the QUT Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.
In 2010 Tony was awarded the Inaugural National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year Award From 2011 to 2013, Tony held an appointment as an Acting Part-Time Commissioner on NSW Land and Environment Court. Tony is the current co-chair of the Indigenous Legal Issues Committee of the Law Council of Australia, and the Chair of the NSW Bar Association’s First Nations Committee. He is a trustee of the NSW Bar Associations Indigenous Barristers Trust.
Dr Jackie Huggins AM
Co-Chair of the Eminent Persons Panel of Path to Treaty Qld
Dr Jackie Huggins AM FAHA is a Bidjara (central Queensland) and Birri-Gubba Juru (North Queensland) woman from Queensland who has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs for over forty years. Jackie is a celebrated historian and author who has documented the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout the decades.
She is the former Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Reconciliation Australia and currently Co-Chair of the Eminent Persons Panel of Path to Treaty Qld.
In 2001, Jackie received the Member of the Order of Australia for services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Throughout her career spanning over four decades, Jackie has played a leading role in reconciliation, literacy, women’s issues and social justice. Jackie has had a long and distinguished career in public service and professional achievement.
Justice Joe Williams
justice of the supreme court of new zealand
Justice Williams was appointed a Judge of the High Court in September 2008, a Judge of the Court of Appeal in February 2018 and a Judge of the Supreme Court in May 2019. He graduated from Victoria University with an LLB in 1986 and from the University of British Columbia, Canada, with an LLM (Hons) in 1988. He then joined and later became a partner of the law firm Kensington Swan.
After practising as a partner of Walters Williams & Co between 1994 and 1999, Justice Williams was appointed Chief Judge, Maori Land Court in December 1999. Shortly thereafter he was appointed as Deputy Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal and appointed the Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal in 2004.
Justice Williams iwi are Ngati Pūkenga, Waitaha and Tapuika.
Senator Patrick Dodson
Senator for Western Australia and Shadow Assistant Minister for Reconciliation and Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians
Patrick Dodson is a Yawuru man from Broome in Western Australia. He has dedicated his life work to being an advocate for constructive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples based on mutual respect, understanding and dialogue. He is a recipient of the Sydney International Peace prize.
Patrick has extensive experience in Aboriginal Affairs, previously as Director of the Central and Kimberley Land Councils and as a Commissioner in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. He also served as inaugural Chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and as Co-Chair of the Expert Panel for Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.
Prior to his endorsement by the Australian Labor Party as a Western Australian Senator in March 2016, Patrick was a member of the ANU Council, Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame (Broome) and Co-Chair of the National Referendum Council.
Since entering the Parliament in 2016 as Senator for Western Australia and Shadow Assistant Minister for Reconciliation and Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, Patrick has fought for justice for First Nations People and a fair go for remote and regional WA.
The Hon. Linda Burney MP
Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services & Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Member for Barton
Linda was elected federal member for Barton in 2016, following a 14-year career in the NSW Parliament as the Member for Canterbury. During her state political career she served as minister in a number of senior portfolios including as minister for Community Services and later as Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
Following her election to the Federal House of Representatives she was immediately appointed as Shadow Minister for Human Services. She has since been appointed Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians.
As a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation, Linda was the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the NSW Parliament and the first Aboriginal woman to serve in the Australian House of Representatives. Linda’s commitment to Indigenous issues spans more than 30 years.
She began her career as a teacher in western Sydney and then as an education bureaucrat before being appointed Director-General of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in 2000. Charles Sturt University awarded her, its first Aboriginal graduate, an Honorary Doctorate in Education in 2002.
Linda has a long-held commitment to the prevention of domestic violence and family violence and has detailed publically her personal experience with it.
Linda has held senior positions in the non-government sector serving on a number of Boards including the SBS, the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, and the NSW Board of Studies.
The Hon. Robert Shenton French AC
Chancellor of the University of Western Australia, FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE OF AUSTRALIA
Robert French served as Chief Justice of Australia from 1 September 2008 until 29 January 2017.
He is a graduate of the University of Western Australia in science and law. He served as a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia from November 1986 until his appointment as Chief Justice of the High Court on 1 September 2008. From 1994 to 1998 he was the President of the National Native Title Tribunal.
Since his retirement as Chief Justice, Mr French has been appointed as a Non-Permanent Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (May 2017), as an International Judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court (January 2018) and as a Judge of the Court of Appeal of the Dubai International Financial Centre (June 2019).
He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia and Monash University, a Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Australian National University and an Honorary Professorial Fellow at Melbourne University Law School. He was elected as Chancellor of the University of Western Australia in December 2017.
Professor Megan Davis
Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous and Professor of Law, UNSW. Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court.
Prof. Davis is currently an expert member of the United Nations Human Rights Council's Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Prof Davis is formerly Chair and an expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2011-2016).
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.
Please find a list of our current Speakers for the Summit.
Please check back regularly for new speakers and other important information about the content of the Summit.
Professor Daryle Rigney
Director, Indigenous Nations and Collaborative Futures Research, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, University of Technology Sydney
Daryle Rigney, a citizen of the Ngarrindjeri Nation, is a professor and Director of the Indigenous Nations and Collaborative Futures Research hub in the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Technology Sydney. He is a board member of the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute, a member of the Indigenous Advisory Council, Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona, a member of the South Australian Certificate of Education’s Aboriginal Steering Committee and a Senior Fellow, Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity, Melbourne & Atlantic Institute, Oxford Univerity, UK. Daryle’s academic work and community work currently focus on developments in Indigenous nation-building and governance following colonisation. He has published widely and influentially on these topics.
PhD Candidate (Sociology), College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University Post Graduate Research Fellow – The Cairns Institute, James Cook University Coordinator - Gugu Badhun Aboriginal Corporation (Registered Native Title Body Corporate) - Partner Investigator – ARC Discovery Project “Prerequisite conditions for Indigenous nation self-government”, University of Technology Sydney
Janine Gertz is a citizen of the Gugu Badhun Aboriginal Nation, from the Upper Burdekin region of North Queensland. Janine’s research interests are grounded in her community development and nation-building work with the Gugu Badhun Aboriginal Nation. Janine’s doctoral research title is Gugu Badhun Self-Determination: Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the local level.
Tim Goodwin is a barrister at the Victorian Bar and practices primarily in commercial and public law. Tim was one of the Junior Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. Prior to joining the Bar, Tim worked at Allens as a solicitor for three years in commercial litigation, and in banking and finance.
Before joining Allens, Tim served as Associate to Justice North and Justice Bromberg of the Federal Court of Australia. He also served as Foreign Law Clerk to Justice Skweyiya of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.
Tim has a Bachelor of Arts and Laws (with Honours) from the Australian National University and a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School.
Tim is a member of the Yuin people of the South East Coast of New South Wales. He serves on a number of boards, including as a Board Member of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
Director of the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre for Indigenous Peoples and the Law.
Claire Charters is from Ngati Whakaue, Tuwharetoa, Nga Puhi and Tainui. Claire’s primary area of research is in Indigenous peoples’ rights in international and constitutional law, often with a comparative focus. Claire is working on articles on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the relationship between tikanga Māori and the state legal system, tensions between human rights and Indigenous peoples' rights and on the legitimacy of Indigenous peoples’ rights under international law, to be published as a book by Cambridge University Press. Claire is also working on a number of collaborative research projects including on Indigenous peoples’ self-determination and the philosophical foundations of Indigenous law. She is a member of the International Law Association’s committee on Indigenous peoples’ rights, and was awarded a Royal Society Rutherford Discovery Fellowship in 2017. Claire has typically combined her academic research and teaching with advocacy for the rights of Indigenous peoples at the domestic and international levels, and is currently a trustee on the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples. In 2016–2017, Claire was appointed by the president of the United Nations General Assembly to advise him on enhancing Indigenous peoples' participation in the United Nations. From 2010 to 2013, Claire worked for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in the Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section, focusing on the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Professor John Borrows
Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria Law School in British Columbia
John Borrows B.A., M.A., J.D., LL.M. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Osgoode Hall Law School), LL.D. (Hons., Dalhousie, York, Queen’s & Law Society of Ontario), D.H.L, (Toronto), F.R.S.C. John is Anishinaabe/Ojibway and a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Canada. His publications include, Recovering Canada; The Resurgence of Indigenous Law (Donald Smiley Award for the best book in Canadian Political Science, 2002), Canada's Indigenous Constitution (Canadian Law and Society Best Book Award 2011), Drawing Out Law: A Spirit's Guide (2010), Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism ((Donald Smiley Award for the best book in Canadian Political Science, 2016), The Right Relationship (with Michael Coyle, ed.), Resurgence and Reconciliation (with Michael Asch, Jim Tully, eds.), Law’s Indigenous Ethics, all from the University of Toronto Press. He is the 2017 Killam Prize winner in Social Sciences and the 2019 Molson Prize Winner from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Advocate for Human Rights
Damian Griffis is a descendant of the Worimi people. He is a leading advocate for the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. Damian has been a central figure in the establishment of both the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW and the national organisation representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities and their families – the First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN).
Damian represents FPDN at regional, national and international forums.
In 2014, he won the Tony Fitzgerald (Community Individual) Memorial Award at the Australian Human Rights Awards.
Laureate Professor Emeritus Cheryl Saunders
Director of Studies, Public and International Law (Melbourne Law Masters) Melbourne Law School
Cheryl Saunders is a Laureate Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne and the founding director of the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies. She has specialist research interests in Australian and comparative public law. She is a President Emeritus of the International Association of Constitutional Law, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, a corresponding Fellow of the British Academy and a foundation fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She is a former board member of International IDEA, a senior technical advisor to its constitution building program and a convenor of the Constitution Transformation Network.
Former Charles Perkins Scholar
Lilly Brown belongs to the Gumbaynggirr people of the mid-north coast of New South Wales. Lilly is an interdisciplinary educator and researcher. As a former Charlie Perkins Scholar, in 2013 she completed a Masters in Education at the University of Cambridge and currently lecturers into the Indigenous Studies program at the University of Melbourne. With a background in critical Indigenous studies, education and youth sociology, Lilly’s research and teaching focuses on the possibilities, education presents as both a site of positive transformation and social reproduction; the ongoing colonial state violence resisted by First Peoples; and, the way anti-Indigenous racism, as foundational to Australian nationhood, continues to function. Lilly’s academic practice is informed by her relationships and work with different communities in Victoria and across Australia, including with Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal young people, their families, communities and schools.
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