Uphold & Recognise

Upholding the Big Ideas: Options for Discussion

We believe that it is possible to recognise Indigenous peoples in a way that is practical, fair, and that would enhance our law making processes when it comes to Indigenous affairs. To read more, download our short booklet series, below:

To download each paper as a PDF file, click the titles above. To download all four papers via a single Zip file, click here.

Submissions to the Joint Select Committee

Uphold & Recognise recently made two submissions to the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

  • The first submission contained the four policy documents in ‘Upholding the Big Ideas: Options for Discussion’, in the U&R monograph series, below. These were launched at Parliament House by the Hon. Michael Kirby on 26 June 2018: to see a report of the launch event click here.

  • The second submission, made jointly with Australian Catholic University’s PM Glynn Institute, was made in response to the Committee’s interim report. It can be downloaded by clicking this link.


The Australian Declaration of Recognition

by Damien Freeman and Julian Leeser

April 2014

Foreword to “Practical Recognition from the Mobs’ Perspective”

by Tim Wilson, MP

May 2017

Practical Recognition from the Mobs’ Perspective

by Warren Mundine

May 2017

This Whispering in Our Hearts

by David Allinson

July 2017

Claiming the Common Ground for Recognition

by Sean Gordon

September 2017

Upholding the Big Ideas

by Uphold & Recognise and the PM Glynn Institute

June 2018


The Forgotten People: Liberal and Conservative approaches to recognising indigenous peoples

Damien Freeman, Shireen Morris. Foreword by Noel Pearson.

The Forgotten People challenges the assumption that constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians is a project of the left in Australia. It demonstrates that there may be a set of reforms that can achieve the change sought by Indigenous leaders, while addressing the critical concerns of constitutional conservatives and classical liberals. More than that, this collection illustrates the genuine goodwill that many Australians, including Major General Michael Jeffrey, Cardinal George Pell, Chris Kenny, and Malcolm Mackerras, share for achieving Indigenous recognition that is practically useful and symbolically powerful.



The Australian Declaration of Recognition introduces a new proposal for recognising indigenous Australians. Sometimes we need to think about an old problem in a new way. In this essay, Damien Freeman and Julian Leeser argue that we should rethink our approach to indigenous recognition: instead of trying to insert some modest statement in the Constitution, we should consider adopting an Australian Declaration of Recognition, which would contain a powerful and poetic statement of the nation that Australia has become, and our aspirations for our nation’s future.



The Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians recommended that, in addition to any symbolic language inserted in the Constitution, two substantive changes needed to be made: 

  • first, provisions that the Panel deemed to be racist ought to be removed; and
  • secondly, the Panel proposed inserting a provision that prohibits racial discrimination

These issues are investigated in Noel Pearson's Quarterly Essay, A Rightful Place. Pearson argues that, rather than adopting a racial non-discrimination clause, we should consider creating an indigenous body that could advise the Parliament on indigenous matters. This way, it would be indigenous people, rather than the High Court, that tells the Parliament what is in the interests of indigenous people. 


A Rightful Place

Edited by Shireen Morris. Foreword by Galarrwuy Yunupingu.

Soon, we will all decide if and how Indigenous Australians will be recognised in the Constitution. In this book, several leading writers and thinkers provide a road map to recognition.

Starting with the Uluru Statement from the Heart, these eloquent essays show what constitutional recognition means and what it could make possible: a political voice, a fairer relationship and a renewed appreciation of an ancient culture. With remarkable clarity and power, they traverse law, history and culture to map the path to change.

The book includes an essay co-written by Damien Freeman and Nolan Hunter from Uphold & Recognise.