Indigenous Recognition

Freeman has taken an active interest in proposals for constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians.

The Australian Declaration of Recognition

In The Australian Declaration of Recognition, Damien Freeman and Julian Leeser introduce a new proposal for recognising Indigenous Australians.

  • To find out more about the proposal, and to download Freeman and Leeser’s pamphlet, The Australian Declaration of Recognitionclick here


On 25 June, 2014, Freeman and Leeser addressed a meeting of the Liberal Women’s Council on their proposal at Parliament House, Sydney.


Discussion of The Australian Declaration of Recognition

Freeman & Leeser’s approach to Indigenous recognition has received support from constitutional lawyers, including Professor Greg Craven, Vice-Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University.

It has also received support from Indigenous leaders, including Noel Pearson, Chairman of Cape York Partnership.

Professor Megan Davis, Director of the Indigenous Law Centre at the University of New South Wales, writes in the Indigenous Law Bulletin, “Damien Freeman and Julian Leeser … challenge the assumption that ‘recognition’ can only occur by way of inserting a statement in the Constitution… [their] approach is compelling… It would create a defining moment in a way that a Commonwealth referendum cannot.”

  • To read Professor Davis’s article, click here.

The proposal was also the subject of a submission to the Australian Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

  • To read a report of the Select Committee, in which Freeman and Leeser’s proposal is discussed, click here.


The Crown, the Maori, and the Aborigines

In June of 2014, Freeman accompanied a delegation of Indigenous leaders on a trip to New Zealand, funded by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, to research Maori institutions and the Treaty of Waitangi, with a view to making recommendations about what Australia might learn from the New Zealand experience. Freeman was particularly impressed by the work of the Waitangi Tribunal and the process for achieving settlements between the Crown and the various Maori tribes. This informed an opinion piece that he wrote for The Australian.

  • To read the opinion piece, in which Freeman discusses the significance of King George III’s 1787 instructions to Arthur Phillip for the future relationship between the Crown and the Aborigines, click here.


Uphold & Recognise

Uphold & Recognise is an organisation of Australians who are committed both to upholding the Australian Constitution and recognising indigenous Australians. It was formed by Damien Freeman and Julian Leeser, and launched in April 2015, by Noel Pearson at two key events in Sydney, at the State Library of NSW and Hornsby RSL Club.

  • To visit the Uphold and Recognise website, click here