Challenges the collaboration is investigating

How can Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples assume a more respected and influential public voice in Australia’s social and political life?

The collaboration examines the ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are able to speak and be heard in Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as individuals and communities, must navigate Australia’s turbulent history of repeatedly creating and disbanding representative bodies to influence policy and government, as well as frequent negative representations of Indigenous life in the media and popular culture. We explore efforts to amplify the public voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and seek to better understand the transformative potential of this voice upon Australia’s social and political life.

How can structural reform in the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Australian state and its peoples be achieved?

The collaboration examines possibilities for structural transformation. The Uluru Statement makes it clear that urgent structural reform is needed to reshape current relations between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the Australian state, its peoples and institutions. Our research on this issue explores the challenges and possibilities of treaties and other forms of agreement-making in Australia, and seeks to theorise new possibilities for structural transformation.

How might an enriched understanding of our shared and contested histories shape contemporary Indigenous-settler relations?

Many truths about Australia’s history remain hidden. There is a belief and faith - articulated in the Uluru Statement and elsewhere - that uncovering the truths of this history will have a transformative effect on Indigenous-settler relations. Decades of effort have gone into educating non-Indigenous people about Australia’s colonial past, but there is little evidence that this work has produced the broad-based political will for change that might once have been imagined. The collaboration adopts multiple disciplinary perspectives to understand the ways in which truth-telling and history might successfully inform the transformation of Indigenous-settler relations, and to better understand the reasons why it has failed to do so to date.