Uphold & Recognise

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 principles 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 an Indigenous-led organisation, and has entered into strategic partnerships with the PM Glynn Institute at Australian Catholic University, as well as other corporate and University partners.


Support Us

Uphold & Recognise is a grass-roots and entirely self-funded organisation. We have received support from a number of organisations, including Reconciliation Australia and the Australian Catholic University; but now, we call on you to help us continue our vital work.

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

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.

The policy unit will take strategic direction from thought leaders in this area: Noel Pearson of Cape York Institute, and Megan Davis, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Indigenous) of the University of New South Wales.

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.