Indigenous constitutional recognition: paths to failure and possible paths to success

Shireen Morris, Noel Pearson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What problem does Indigenous constitutional recognition seek to fix? Is its aim purely symbolic, or does it seek to solve a practical problem? This article argues that characterising the purpose of constitutional recognition as purely symbolic is both substantively incorrect and strategically flawed – it will most likely result in a failed referendum. If the aim is practical, however, as we suggest, then which model presents the best hope for a successful referendum? This article canvases the legal and political calculations involved with each reform option and explains why a constitutionally mandated Indigenous representative body, while no easy sell, nonetheless poses Australia’s best hope of a successful Indigenous recognition referendum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-359
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Law Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Indigenous constitutional recognition: paths to failure and possible paths to success'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this