The Annual ANU Reconciliation Lecture

The Annual ANU Reconciliation Lecture is hosted annually by NCIS in conjunction with Reconciliation Australia, ANU College of Law, and National Film and Sound Archive, Australia. The lecture is presented by an eminent member of the Australian community, who speaks on their topic of expertise as it relates to reconciliation in Australia.

The lecture is one of the measures of the ANU Reconciliation Action Plan, which aims to create meaningful relationships and sustainable opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The inaugural Annual ANU Reconciliation Lecture was delivered by Professor Patrick Dodson in 2004, as was the 10th anniversary lecture in 2013.

Location: The Shine Dome, 15 Gordon Street, Acton 2601, ACT HC Coombs Lecture Theatre, 8A Fellows Road, ANU campus, Acton, ACT.

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Time & date: ;6.00 – 7.00pm followed by refreshments until 8.00pm Friday 23 Feb.

Admission: This is a free lecture that is open to the public.

Enquiries & RSVP: (details TBA) Registration is essential: please visit RSVP Annual ANU Reconciliation Lecture or Contact the NCIS Business Assistant, Ms Tahlia Warran Brand, on or 6125 0829.

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Please note that the biographical information given on this page was correct at the time of each speaker presenting the Annual ANU Reconciliation Lecture, and has not been updated since that date.

2018: The 2018 Annual ANU Reconciliation Lecture: Reconciliation, Treaty Making and Nation Building

Mr 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.

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. Over this period he has been instrumental in the development of many community based regional organisations.

Australia is a better nation than the political system which represents us. The failure of successive national governments and parliaments to forge pathways to recognise Indigenous peoples in the nation’s Constitution is a failure of Australia’s body politic. Peter Yu contends that constitutional recognition should not be viewed as another contentious issue – accompanied by political cajoling and maneuvering - to be ticked off along the linear trajectory of Australian nation building. It should be understood as fundamental to our moral and ethical national character akin to the tenets of the French Revolution – Liberty, Equality and Fraternity – and those self-evident truths consecrated in the American Declaration of Independence.

Embracing Indigenous peoples in our Constitution is pivotal to a new relationship between Indigenous peoples and Settler Australians and a renaissance of the modern Australian State. Without this recognition the Australian nation remains tied to it colonial and bloodstained past. We are a nation denied the potential for a reconciled history after four decades of public discussion and advocacy.

2016: Jody Wilson-Raybould PC, QC, MP ‘Reconciliation: Moving through the Post-Colonial Door’

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould PC, QC, MP, is the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, MP for Vancouver Granville, a lawyer, advocate, and former Regional Chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations.

Called to the British Columbia Bar in 2000, Jody Wilson-Raybould began her legal career as a provincial crown prosecutor in Vancouver and later served as an advisor at the British Columbia Treaty Commission. In 2004, she was elected as Commissioner by the Chiefs of the First Nations Summit. Jody Wilson-Raybould was elected Regional Chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations in 2009 and re-elected in 2012.

After being elected as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville in 2015, Jody Wilson-Raybould was appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on November 4, 2015.

Minister Wilson-Raybould is a descendant of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach peoples, which are part of the Kwakwaka’wakw and also known as the Kwak’wala-speaking peoples. She is a member of the We Wai Kai Nation and is married to Dr. Tim Raybould.

ANU Chancellor Professor Gareth Evans, NCIS Director Professor Mick Dodson, and the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould PC, QC, MP.

About the lecture

Canada is coming to terms with its colonial legacy and its treatment of generations of Indigenous peoples.

As an Indigenous woman, a former Crown prosecutor and a former Regional Chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould has long been an advocate for change. Now as Canada’s first Indigenous Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Minister Wilson-Raybould has a unique perspective on how to rebuild the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian government – and ultimately all Canadians.

In the 2016 ANU Reconciliation Lecture, Minister Wilson-Raybould will draw links between the Canadian and Australian experiences and make the case that effecting positive change in Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples is the only way to reach true reconciliation – what she refers to as “moving through the post-colonial door.”

As with all her colleagues in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, Minister Wilson-Raybould is mandated to support the renewal of this relationship, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

In addition to discussing the Canadian government’s work in leading an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and acting upon the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into Indian residential schools, Minister Wilson-Raybould will provide insight into the review of Canada’s criminal justice system, including a look into the over-representation of Indigenous people as both offenders and victims.

Minister Wilson-Raybould will also discuss her views on how Canada will implement the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and what mechanisms will be needed to make it work for governments and Indigenous peoples within the Canadian context.

Ultimately, reconciliation in a post-colonial Canada requires that all Canadians learn from their collective history and move out of the shadows of past injustices. This will help transform the relationship between Indigenous people and federal entities from imposed governance to self-governance and true partnership within the Canadian Confederation – ensuring an inclusive, just and respectful society.

NCIS Higher Degree by Research (HDR) scholars – Ms Corinne Walsh (left) and Ms Annie Te One (right) with the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould PC, QC, MP (centre).

Annie and Corinne spoke at an afternoon tea that was held prior to the Annual ANU Reconciliation Lecture, about their experiences undertaking their research at NCIS.

2015: Kevin Rudd ‘The three Rs on reconciliation: Respect, Rights and Recognition’

The Honourable Kevin Rudd served as Australia’s 26th Prime Minister (2007-2010, 2013) and as Foreign Minister (2010-2012). He led Australia’s response during the Global Financial Crisis, a response which was reviewed by the International Monetary Fund as the most effective stimulus strategy of all member states. Australia was the only major developed economy not to go into recession. Mr Rudd helped found the G20 (an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies) to drive the global response to the crisis, and which – in 2009 – helped prevent the crisis from spiraling into depression.

Kevin Rudd is uniquely placed to offer his perspective on reconciliation in the Australian context as the Prime Minister who delivered one of the landmarks of our nation’s reconciliation journey – the National Apology to the Stolen Generations delivered on 13 February 2008. This was his first Parliamentary act as Prime Minister.

In the 2015 ANU Reconciliation Lecture, Mr Rudd explored the role of symbols in our cultures and identities, and the fundamental need to link symbolic national gestures like the Apology with substantive actions and measurable outcomes, such as the Closing the Gap strategy to overcome Indigenous disadvantage.

Mr Rudd examined the next step in Australian reconciliation – the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our nation’s Constitution, and the call for the inclusion of constitutional reforms as part of that process to shift the symbolic to the practical. He looked at the process to date and the need for a respectful, national discourse on recognition and rights. Mr Rudd offered his own perspective on the need for bipartisan, national political leadership to advance genuine reconciliation in Australia.

2014: Fred Chaney AO ‘Is Australia big enough for reconciliation?’

NCIS was privileged to have the Honourable Frederick Michael "Fred" Chaney, former Deputy Leader of the Australian Liberal Party and Indigenous rights activist, deliver the 2014 Annual ANU Reconciliation Lecture. Mr Chaney's lecture challenged governmental approach to closing the gap despite progress Australia has seen over 50 years.

"The question remains to be answered – are we big enough, generous enough, to provide room for the world's oldest living cultures to find their continuing futures?", firmly asked Mr Chaney.

"My questioning, however, arises from our response to the determination of so many Indigenous people to achieve not just social and economic equality – the closing of the gap – but to maintain their collective identities and their cultures."

"Later, as a young lawyer, I saw child removal for social rather than welfare reasons, and blatant abuses of the processes of the law. These early experiences drove my interest in reconciliation although that was not a term we used then."

"The breadth of community engagements in 2014 stands in stark contrast with the segregated Australia of my youth, when these matters were left to a few religious bodies and to governments. In my earliest years, I would have excused any Indigenous person for saying the world was against them. In 2014, they have many allies. It is this broad community engagement which appears to me to be based on a broad community desire to settle these matters which led me to proclaim this as the most hopeful period of my life."

NCIS Director, Professor Mick Dodson, acknowledged and expressed his gratitude towards what ANU has done in the space of Reconciliation on campus, and was looking forward to seeing what the next phase could look like.

During the lecture, Mr Chaney announced he would be stepping down from his position as Reconciliation Australia Board Director at the end of this year, after almost 15 years on the Board.

NCIS would like to thank Reconciliation Australia, who sponsored part of the event, and especially Ms Joy Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, who attended the event with a team of volunteers, the National Film and Sound Archive Events team, and Professor Richard Baker, who represented the ANU Office of the Vice Chancellor.

The Hon Fred Chaney delivers the 2014 Annual ANU Reconciliation Lecture.

Jake Budd opens the event.

Indigenous prospective tertiary students with Mr Chaney, his wife Angela, Professor Richard Baker, Professor Mick Dodson, Ms Joy Thomas, Dr Asmi Wood and Ms Anne Martin.

2013: Patrick Dodson ‘The road to reconciliation: Some reflections on the politics and challenges of reconciliation‘

Professor 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 people based on mutual respect, understanding and dialogue. He is a recipient of the Sydney International Peace prize. He was a Royal Commissioner into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, inaugural Chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and Co-Chair of the Expert Panel for Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.

Professor Dodson lives in Broome with his family, where he is involved in social, cultural, economic and environmental sustainability through his roles as Chair of the Lingiari Foundation and Executive Chair of Nyamba Buru Yawuru. He is Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame Australia in Broome where he lectures in spirituality and the challenge of reconciliation. His brother, Professor Mick Dodson AM, is also a national Indigenous Australian leader and is Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at ANU.

In this lecture, Professor Patrick Dodson reflects on the politics and challenges of Australia's reconciliation journey.

Professor Patrick Dodson.

Photos by David Paterson, ANU.

Professor Patrick Dodson.

Professors Mick and Patrick Dodson.

2012: Alison Page 'Fifty shades of brown'

Ms Alison Page is an award-winning designer and Executive Officer of the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance and the National Aboriginal Design Agency, and a descendant of the Walbanga and Wadi Wadi people of the Yuin nation.

Daughter of an Aboriginal man and “a ten pound pom”, Alison Page will talk about her own identity and family which is not defined by black, white, brown, or any colour. She will talk about pride where there once wasn't any. Passionate about the living definition of culture, Alison will unpack the values at the heart of Aboriginal culture and the many languages that are used through storytelling to express them. Connecting this with the broader process of reconciliation, she will argue why we need to embrace Aboriginal culture and its values as central to our national identity.

2011: Tim Flannery 'Reconciliation in an era of globalisation'

Professor Tim Flannery is one of Australia's leading writers on climate change and heads up the multi-party Climate Change Commission established by the Prime Minister. An internationally-acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, Professor Flannery was named Australian of the Year in 2007.

Professor Flannery used this talk to reflect on what ancient Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures have to teach us all in the modern world. He discussed the rapid globalisation of the world and the common culture of social media among young people. He also discussed how people are adopting global solutions to global problems such as climate change and reflected on how the nature of reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and other Australians is being influenced by these trends.

2010: Kerry Arabena 'Post normal reconciliation – using science to reframe the reconciliation agenda'

Dr Kerry Arabena is the former chief executive officer of the Lowitja Institute, Australia's national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait health research. She holds a Doctorate in Human Ecology, a Bachelor of Social Work and a Graduate Diploma of Arts. A descendant of the Meriam Mer people of the Torres Strait currently residing in Canberra, Dr Arabena was the Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples Ltd inaugural board.

Dr Arabena has a work and academic history including a term as the administrator of one of the most remote Aboriginal Medical Services in Australia and senior appointments in government, non-government and the private sector. She has also worked across Asia and the Pacific in projects that address gender, social justice, human rights, access and equity, service provision, harm minimisation and citizenship and represented Australia in international forums on HIV/AIDS and climate change. She was the Territory Finalist for the ACT in the Australian of the Year 2011 awards.

Prior to the lecture Kerry Arabena was interviewed by Louise Maher on the Drive program for ABC 666 Canberra.

2009: Mick Dodson AM 'How well do we know each other?'

Professor Mick Dodson AM is the Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies, ANU, a Professor of Law at the ANU College of Law and former Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia. Mick Dodson is a vigorous advocate of the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples in Australia and the world. He was the Regional Pacific Representative of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues from 2004 to 2007, and was named Australian of the Year 2009.

Archie Roach & Ruby Hunter are two of Australia's leading singer songwriters. They retell intimate real life stories through song which have touched the hearts and souls of audiences around the world. In 2008, they were awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award for their extraordinary contributions to Australian music.

Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is broadly accepted as essential to our national well-being. It is strongly desired. At an institutional level, we are more prepared to back good intentions with action. But at a more personal, intimate level, beyond celebrating the concept of reconciliation and a willingness to participate in public events: what do we really know of each other? Mick Dodson considered the private domain of reconciliation.

The program included a special performance by Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter. A short compilation of segments from the National Film and Sound Archive's national collection was also screened as part of this special event.

2008: Mark Bin Bakar 'Respect is the New Black: Building on our national apology'

Mr Mark Bin Bakar has dedicated much of his adult life to increasing cultural understanding and working tirelessly to present an insight into Indigenous culture. Mark has created many opportunities for Indigenous musicians, including establishing the very successful music school Abmusic 20 years ago. His character, Mary G, Black Queen of the Kimberley, has become a national cult figure while enabling Mark to raise awareness of important social issues facing Indigenous people. Mark travels extensively throughout remote areas talking to people about alcohol and drug abuse, health care, emotional wellbeing, respect for elders and domestic violence. In 2007, he was recognised as NAIDOC Person of the Year and West Australian of the Year, which made him a finalist for Australian of the Year in 2008.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians see reconciliation as a way to make whitefellas feel better about themselves. For Mark Bin Bakar (a member of the Kimberley Stolen Generation Community) reconciliation is a chance for Australia to demonstrate respect and empower Indigenous people. In his lecture, Mark Bin Bakar drew on his many talents to deliver a thought-provoking and entertaining ANU Reconciliation Lecture.

2007: Elizabeth Evatt AC 'Reconciliation, justice and equal rights'

The Honourable Elizabeth Evatt AC graduated in law from the University of Sydney and Harvard University and practised law in Australia and England. She chaired the Royal Commission on Human Relationships, was the first Chief Judge of the Family Court of Australia, 1976–1988, and went on to become President of the Australian Law Reform Commission. Elizabeth has been a part-time Commissioner of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (now the Australian Human Rights Commission), a member of the UN Human Rights Committee, and a Judge of the World Bank Administrative Tribunal. Elizabeth was Chancellor of the University of Newcastle from 1988–1994, and conducted a Review of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 for the Australian Government. In 2003 she became a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists, based in Geneva.

2006: John Hartigan 'The 3rd Annual ANU Reconciliation Lecture'

Mr John Hartigan leads the nation's largest newspaper group and as such, is one of corporate Australia's most influential chief executives. He is a director of News Limited in Australia, Queensland Press, Advertiser Newspapers Limited, The Herald and Weekly Times Limited, FOXTEL Management Pty Ltd, FOXTEL Cable Television Pty Ltd and Customer Service Pty Ltd.

On the 10th anniversary of National Reconciliation Week, Mr Hartigan spoke about the responsibility of all sectors of the community to help close the 17-year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

2005: Jack Thompson AM 'Reconciliation – a personal journey'

Mr Jack Thompson is one of Australia's most loved and respected actors. He has appeared in numerous Australian and American films, including: Wake In Fright (1969); the classic Sunday Too Far Away (1975); Breaker Morant (1980) for which he won an AFI award for best actor as well as an award at the Cannes International Film Festival; The Sum of Us (1993); Star Wars Ep. II (2000); and The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2003).

Jack is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, an ex-director of the Film Finance Corporation, a foundation member of the Council for the National Museum of Australia, and a Life Member of the Stockman's Hall of Fame. In 1986, Jack was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia for his services to the Australian film industry.

'Reconciliation: A Personal Journey' followed Mr Thompson's involvement with Indigenous Australians throughout his life. He spoke of his time on the Council of the National Museum and the establishment of the Gallery of First Australians, his involvement with the Yolngu People and Garma in East Arnhem Land, and the role that film and television play in the education of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in relation to reconciliation.

2004: Patrick Dodson 'Reconciliation – beyond the bridges and sorry'

Professor Patrick Dodson is widely recognised as the 'father of reconciliation' in Australia. He is a national leader in the search for a resolution of differences between Australia's Indigenous people and their non-Indigenous brothers and sisters. He was the founding chair of the Lingiari Foundation – an Indigenous non-government advocacy and research Foundation.

In presenting the Inaugural ANU Reconciliation Lecture, Patrick Dodson reflected on proposed changes in Federal Indigenous affairs policy, and urged Australians who believe in reconciliation to place the issue back at the top of the national agenda.

Updated:  23 January 2018/ Responsible Officer:  NCIS Project Coordinator/ Page Contact:  NCIS Administrative Officer