Professor Tom Calma wearing a suit and tie

Goldring Lecture 2022

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  • Wollongong Campus
    Building 67 Room 107

On Thursday 27th October 2022, the School of Law will host the annual Goldring Lecture, to honour the late Jack Goldring, University of Wollongong’s founding Dean of Law. The School of Law is pleased to share that Professor Tom Calma, AO FAA, will deliver this year’s Goldring Lecture.

Professor Calma’s Goldring Lecture will discuss the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ journey to be heard and to influence policy and programs that affect them, including unpacking why a Voice to Parliament is necessary and how it might be operationalised. Closing the Gaps will not occur without an alignment of policies and programs by the three tiers of governments being led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to co-design strategies and policies from the grass roots level.

The fungibility of First Nation politicians and a Voice to Parliament – unpacking the myths and mis-information and what’s needed to get the Referendum over the line.

There has been considerable commentary that “eleven First Nation politicians” can adequately represent the hopes and aspirations of Indigenous Australians so we do not need a Voice to Parliament and consequently do not need a Referendum to enshrine a Voice mechanism in the Australian Constitution.  Professor Calma will explore whether this is a fungible proposition or whether a Voice to Parliament is essential and long overdue.  In so doing Professor Calma will also address the Rights of indigenous peoples and will unpack many of the myths and mis-information that are currently being presented by the conservative media and those who support a “No campaign”.

There is much work to be done including the provision of civics education for the community to ensure that voters realise the effort needed for a successful Referendum and why every vote counts.  For example, how do we mobilise our youth and young people who have never experienced a Referendum? 

It is essential that all members of society are mobilised and informed and the role of the university sector and the legal sector to help guide the community to realise a successful Referendum cannot be undervalued.  It is imperative that the rights, responsibilities, dignity and voices of First Nations peoples are realised and where appropriate, First Nations voices are sought, heard, explored and entrenched in laws, policies and practices by the Australian Parliament.

About Professor Tom Calma, AO FAA

Professor Calma is an Aboriginal Elder from the Kungarakan (Koong ara kan) tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja (Ee wad ja) tribal group whose traditional lands are south west of Darwin and on the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory of Australia, respectively. Professor Calma has been involved in Indigenous affairs at a local, community, state, national and international level and has worked in the public sector for over 45 years. From 2004 to 2010 Professor Calma was Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner (2004-09) at the Australian Human Rights Commission. He is currently on a number of boards and committees focusing on rural and remote Australia, health, mental health, suicide prevention, all levels of education, culture and language, justice reinvestment, research, reconciliation and economic development.

In 2010, after a distinguished career of 38 years in the Australian Public Service, Professor Calma retired and currently works as a consultant, volunteer and academic. Since 1 January 2014, after serving six years as a member of Council and Deputy Chancellor, Professor Calma became the 6th Chancellor of the University of Canberra and the first Indigenous male Chancellor of an Australian university.