10 Minute Genius: Megan Davis on the power of Voice
In 2017 on the lands of the Anangu, Cobble Cobble woman Megan Davis stepped out from the shadow of Uluru and delivered the Uluru Statement from the Heart for the very first time. It was the first time anyone would hear it, and it was a process that showed the power of First Nation Voices.
Before this momentous day, Megan Davis had embarked upon a deliberative process bringing together the 13 regional dialogues around Australia, asking First Nations people for the first time: what does recognition mean to you?
The answer: “Voice and a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history”.
“A First Nations Voice in the Constitution, established by referendum, would shift Indigenous affairs out of the realm of ideological party politics, where our issues are ruthlessly measured against utilitarian rule,” says Professor Megan Davis.
Since then the call for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament has not been taken up by the Federal Government, but it’s time to face some hard truths. Why can’t Australian political leaders engage with the wishes of Australia’s First Nations People? Will white Australia ever accept the truth about our history? Would the scandalous policy failure of ‘closing the gap’ bring down governments if it was related to any other issue? Underlying all of these questions lie the uncomfortable conversations about sovereignty, treaty and reparations that we need to tackle now.
In just 10 minutes, Prof. Davis will take you through time and unsettle you - and open your eyes to how we can create a better future for all Australians through constitutional reform.
Professor Megan Davis is the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous at UNSW Sydney. As PVCI, Prof Davis leads UNSW's Indigenous Strategy and is the Director of Nura Gili: Centre for Indigenous Programs and the Director of the Indigenous Law Centre UNSW. Megan Davis is a Professor of Law and the Balnaves Chair of Constitutional Law. She is a Cobble Cobble woman and a renowned constitutional lawyer and public law expert, focusing on advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Her work extends internationally, through roles at the United Nations, focusing on global Indigenous rights. In this capacity, she was elected by the UN Human Rights Council to the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples based in Geneva in 2017 and again in 2019 (2019-2022). She is currently the Chair of the Expert Mechanism. Prof Davis is an Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. She is also a member of the NSW Sentencing Council and an Australian Rugby League Commissioner.