ANU is congratulating their Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies, Professor Mick Dodson, on being named Australian Of The Year, beating out all the other States’ nominees.
- “We applaud the selection of Professor Dodson as Australian of the Year, and are proud to count him as one of our academic leaders,” ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Chubb said.
“He has tirelessly combined advocacy, diplomatic and academic roles. He has overcome prejudice and blazed pathways for Indigenous Australians. His record is an outstanding example of the high value we place on combining scholarly research with public engagement. For all these reasons we celebrate him and his achievements.”
Professor Dodson was the first Indigenous lawyer admitted to the Victorian Bar and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. He participated in drafting the Native Title Act (1993) Cth, the legislative expression of native title rights recognised in the watershed Mabo case.
He was a pivotal part of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the Bringing Them Home Report, both of which remain highly influential documents that triggered legal reform, heralded a shift in the nation’s awareness of its past and led to an acknowledgement (and recently a formal prime ministerial apology) for the policies of forced removal of Indigenous children from their families.
At the international level, he campaigned to put the human rights of the world’s Indigenous peoples on the United Nations agenda and participated for over a decade in bringing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to fruition.
UPDATED: One little remarked on part of the furore surrounding Professor Dodson’s “call” for a debate on Australia Day is that he did not raise the issue. He was responding to repeated questioning by the gallery pack who’ve beaten this issue up during a slow January.