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Personal profile



Josephine Bourne is a lecturer in the Department of Indigenous Studies, Macquarie University in Sydney. Josephine is a mainland Torres Strait Islander, born in Townsville, North Queensland.  She is a Gumulgal woman of Mabuiag Island through her father's ancestral line with links to Moa Island. On her mother’s line Josephine's ancestry links to Badu, Mer and Dawar Islands. Her research interests are multi-disciplinary and focus on governance, leadership and organisational development by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.  Josephine's research interests stem from her professional experiences in national Indigenous governance, organisational development and Indigenous youth leadership development.  Her focus areas in Indigenous Studies include Indigenous politics, Indigenous leadership, Indigenous knowledges and Indigenous knowledge production practice.  Josephine is currently completing a PhD at Macquarie University. Her research topic is: “A framework to sustain national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations in a changing world”. 


Research engagement


Bourne, J (2017) National Indigenous Organisations in Australia: Why Governance Environments Matter. Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues (Special Issue: Indigenous Leadership and Entrepreneurship), 20 (1), 71-86.


Bourne, J. (2016). Chapter 4: Telling Our Story, Owning Our Story, Making Our Story. In M.Davis & M.Langton (Eds.) It's Our Country: Indigenous Arguments for Meaningful Constitutional Recognition and Reform (pp.56-63). Carlton: Melbourne University Press


Bourne, J. (2012) Knowledge Transfer from International Connections:  Applications in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Contexts. Master's Dissertation Unpublished.  James Cook University, Townsville, QLD.


Conference Papers

Bourne, J. (2019) 'Translating the aspirations and protecting the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: the search for capable organisational mechanisms'. Paper presented at the annual Australian Political Science Association (APSA) Conference, Flinders University, Adelaide, 23 September 2019.


Bourne, J. (2019) 'Political co-existence in the 21st Century'. Paper presented at Talking Deadly, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 29 May 2019.


Bourne, J. (2018) 'Collectively envisaging a framework for intergenerational discourse to continue the yarn about our social movements'. Paper presented at the Healing Our Spirit Worldwide Conference, the 8th Gathering: Our Knowledge, Our Wisdom, Our Promise - For Our Grandchildren's Grandchildren, International Convention Centre on Gadigal Land in Sydney, 28 November 2018.


Bourne, J. (2018) 'The Illusion of Inclusion: the more things change the more they stay the same'. Paper presented at the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration, University of Melbourne, 28 September 2018.


Bourne, J. (2018) 'The Indigenous Leadership Challenge: Working towards a Referendum about the rights of Indigenous peoples in Australia'. Paper presented at the International Political Science Association Congress, Brisbane Convention Centre, 23 July 2018. 


Bourne, J. (2016) 'Working harder to move beyond the illusions of consent and inclusion'. Paper presented at the Unfinished Business Seminar, University of Wollongong, 27 May 2016.


Bourne, J. (2015) 'A framework for self-sustaining national Indigenous organisations in a changing world'. Paper presented at the Australian Indigenous Leadership and Entrepreneurship Research Cluster Symposium - At the intersection of Indigenous leadership and Indigenous entrepreneurship research, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, 29-30 October 2015.


Bourne, J. (2013) 'Knowledge Transfer from International Connections: Applications in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Contemporary Contexts. Paper presented at the Sustainable International Leadership in Indigenous Research: pathways, potential and practice Conference, James Cook University, Cairns, 9-10 July 2013.


Bourne, J. (2004) 'The important role of Community Education Counselors in Queensland Schools: assisting Indigenous students to navigate the system by addressing issues of bi-culturalism and diverse language backgrounds'. Paper presented at the China-Australia Human Rights Technical Cooperation Program - Bilingual Education Workshop, Urumqi, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, 12-15 July 2004.

Education/Academic qualification

Social Science, Master of Social Science, James Cook University

Media & Communications, Diploma of Communications, James Cook University

Indigenous Studies, Bachelor of Indigenous Studies, James Cook University

External positions

Eminent Panel Member, Path to Treaty , Queensland Government

Aug 2019 → …

Wiyi Yani U Thangani Advisory Committee Member, Social Justice Unit, Australian Human Rights Commission

Nov 2017 → …

Ethics Council Member, National Congress of Australia's First People


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Research Outputs

  • Telling our story, owning our story, making our story

    Bourne, J., 2016, It's our country: Indigenous arguments for meaningful constitutional recognition and reform. Davis, M. & Langton, M. (eds.). Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press, p. 56-63 8 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    • 5 Membership of network

    Australian Political Studies Association (External organisation)

    Josephine Bourne (Member)

    Activity: MembershipMembership of network

    National Congress of Australia's First People (External organisation)

    Josephine Bourne (Member)
    2010 → …

    Activity: MembershipMembership of network