Uphold & Recognise

Uphold & Recognise is a non-profit organisation that promotes discussion of how we can recognise Indigenous Australians without disturbing the way that the Constitution operates. The Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Referendum Council’s final report call for Indigenous Australians to be empowered to take responsibility for their own affairs through, among other things, a first nations voice to Parliament. Uphold & Recognise supports these calls.

Our Board

Our History

Uphold & Recognise was founded in 2015 by Damien Freeman, a lawyer at the PM Glynn Institute at the Australian Catholic University, and Julian Leeser, who is now the federal member for Berowra. It was founded on two principles. The first is that the Australian Constitution underpins our democratic values and shared way of life, and that this is worth upholding. The second principle is that Indigenous Australians ought to be fairly recognised, on their terms. It is imperative, therefore, that any constitutional reforms both uphold the Constitution and recognise Indigenous peoples.

Uphold & Recognise is a non-profit organisation. It has entered into strategic partnerships with the Australian Catholic University’s PM Glynn Institute and Reconciliation Australia as well as corporate partners, such as Allens, the Commonwealth Bank, Gilbert + Tobin Lawyers, and Westpac.


Support Us

We urgently require your financial assistance. To make a donation, please click here.

News Feed

Welcome to our Four New Directors

11 December 2017

Uphold & Recognise is pleased to announce that it will appoint four Indigenous Australians as new directors in 2018. Rachel Perkins, Nolan Hunter, Adam Bray, and Geoffrey Winters will join the incumbent chair, Sean Gordon.

The board will oversee the work of our newly established policy unit, which will develop practical options for implementing the recommendations of the Referendum Council’s final report, and the Uluru Statement from the Heart. These final reports will be complete by July 2018.

Uphold & Recognise is pleased to assist Indigenous leaders with this policy making process. This work is consistent with its objective of meaningfully recognising Indigenous peoples while upholding the values and principles underpinning the Constitution.

For further information about our four new directors, click here.

Response to the Prime Minister

27 October 2017

The Prime Minister rejected the Referendum Council’s report. Click here to read the response from Uphold & Recognise.

Inaugural Annual Report

1 March 2017

We are pleased to announce that our inaugural Annual Report is now available. The Report details the history and accomplishments of Uphold & Recognise. Download and read it here (size: 29 MB).

Uphold & Recognise Welcomes Sean Gordon

16 February 2017

Sean Gordon headshot.jpg

Sean Gordon has recently been appointed to the position of Chairperson of Uphold & Recognise.

Sean is the CEO of Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council and Chairperson of the Empowered Communities Leadership Group. He brings a wealth of experience in Indigenous leadership and corporate governance to our team. Sean has supported the work of Darkinjung in Aboriginal Economic Development, helping to shift dependency away from Government through strategic Asset Management, Sustainable Development, Good Governance and Informed Decision Making.

We welcome his appointment as a prominent Indigenous leader, and look forward to the valuable contribution he will make to the discussion surrounding the recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.

Julian Leeser MP Delivers Maiden Speech to Parliament

14 September 2016

Julian Leeser is a founding member of Uphold & Recognise, along with Damien Freeman. Having recently been elected to the seat of Berowra, Mr Leeser delivered his maiden speech to Parliament. Speaking of constitutional recognition, he said:

In more recent times, I have worked with Indigenous leaders and constitutional conservatives to find a constitutional way to make better policy about, and due recognition of Indigenous Australians, while avoiding the downsides of inserting symbolic language into a technical document, which requires interpretation by judges.