The Uluru statement

A First Nations perspective of the implications for social reconstructive race relations in Australia

  • Jesse John Fleay
    Edith Cowan University
  • Barry Judd
    Charles Darwin University


From every State and Territory of Australia, including the islands of the Torres Strait over 200 delegates gathered at the 2017 First Nations National Constitutional Convention in Uluru, which has stood on Anangu Pitjantjatjara country in the Northern Territory since time immemorial, to discuss the issue of constitutional recognition. Delegates agreed that tokenistic recognition would not be enough, and that recognition bearing legal substance must stand, with the possibility to make multiple treaties between Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders and the Commonwealth Government of Australia.  In this paper, we look at the roadmap beyond such a potential change. We make the case for a redistributive approach to capital, and propose key outcomes for social reconstruction, should a voice to parliament, a Makarrata[1] Commission and multiple treaties be enabled through a successful referendum. We conclude that an alteration of the Commonwealth Constitution (Cth) is the preliminary overture of a suite of changes: the constitutional change itself is not the end of the road, but simply the beginning of years of legal change, which seeks provide a socio-economic future for Australia’s First Peoples, and the oldest continuing cultures in the world. Constitutional change seeks to transform the discourse about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander relations with the Australian state from one centred on distributive justice to one that is primarily informed by retributive justice. This paper concerns the future generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and their right to labour in a market that honours their cultural contributions to humanity at large.


[1] Yolŋu ceremony for coming together after a struggle.

Published: 2019-01-24
Pages:1 to 14
Section: Articles
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How to Cite
Fleay, J. J., & Judd, B. (2019). The Uluru statement: A First Nations perspective of the implications for social reconstructive race relations in Australia. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 12(1), 1-14.