The Statement from the Heart: An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Australia

This open letter is an initiative of the Australian Historical Association, a professional organisation that ANZLHS is affiliated with.  It has been supported by individual members of your executive and is posted here for the information of all members.

5 January 2018

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP

Prime Minister

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600


Dear Prime Minister,

As professional historians working in Australia, we urge your government to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the recommendations of the Referendum Council for an Indigenous voice to the Australian Parliament.

The signatories below include Indigenous and non-Indigenous historians who teach and write about the histories of many nations and peoples; we are keenly conscious of the rare opportunity that this long consultation process offers to the Australian people. The recommendations arising from that exciting and important consultation should be respected and acted upon.

There has been a long history of Indigenous advocacy and forbearance in this country – more than two hundred years of patient petitioning to colonial, state and federal politicians and their institutions by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Tragically, those statements and processes of consultation have too often been betrayed or undermined by government, as if our politicians are uncomfortable with Indigenous strength and success. Historical research in recent decades has revealed the depth and pain of this lamentable failure. The Uluru Statement, which is the result of a decade of consultation initiated by the federal government, presents you with a vital opportunity to take a significant constitutional step forward.

We agree with our academic colleagues in law and politics that the Uluru Statement is a modest reform that respects the sovereignty of the Australian Parliament. It is not in any sense a ‘third chamber’. The proposal is far from radical, and Indigenous leaders have calmly reiterated that it is a voice, not a veto; it is a voice to parliament not a voice in parliament. We strongly support the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.

We also note that the Uluru Statement calls for ‘truth-telling about our history’ as part of the coming together after a struggle that is represented by Makarrata. We welcome this challenging, necessary and positive process. We hereby offer the strong support and commitment for the crucial role of history in our national life that is envisaged in the Uluru Statement.

Yours sincerely,

Prof Lynette Russell, Monash University



CFP Sexualities, Medicine and the Law Conference

This CFP invites scholars, community and industry members, postgraduates and undergraduates, to participate in a funded project hosted by the Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle.
‘Surveilling Bodies and Minds: Sexualities, Medicine and the Law in Australasian Contexts’ is a 2-day conference on 12-13 September 2018.
‘Surveilling Bodies and Minds: Sexualities, Medicine and the Law in Australasian Contexts’ endeavours to provide a historical context (1950-present) for the current Australasian events surrounding, and responding to, the surveillance of sexualities, particularly gay and lesbian sexualities.
Professor Joanna Bourke (Birkbeck, University of London) is confirmed as one of the keynote speakers.
The recent shifts in power dynamics pertaining to sexualities, the body, medicalisation, and the law – represented most profoundly by the marriage equality debate – demonstrate the need for a series of historical enquiries into these key social issues.
This call for papers invites proposals of 300 words by 1 May, on the following topics:
· The Marriage Equality Debate in Australia (vote, results, bill)
· Legal issues and sexual surveillance
· Medicalisation and sexual surveillance
· Sexualities in Australasia 1950-present
· Sexualities and activism
· Communities and groups – initiatives, support, activism
This is an interdisciplinary conference, and we welcome proposals from all academic disciplines.
This is also a community-based conference, as we welcome proposals from groups and organisations.
Registration fees (include morning and afternoon, and lunch):
2-day registration: $150 waged; $80 unwaged & postgrads / undergrads
1-day registration: $100 waged; $50 unwaged & postgrads / undergrads
Presenters will not pay a registration fee.
The conference is on at New Space, The University of Newcastle’s landmark education precinct in the heart of Newcastle’s CBD.
For further details, please contact: 
Marguerite Johnson: 
James Bennett: 
Kcasey McLoughlin:


Visiting Fellows HGRC: Applications close 31 March 2018

The Harry Gentle Resource Centre (HGRC) at Griffith University is dedicated to the study of the peoples and lands of Australia, with an initial focus on the area that became Queensland in 1859.

It offers a portal of interactive resources, research publications, commentaries and research aids. The centre is now seeking applications for Visiting Fellowships to commence in 2018

 Visiting Fellows are provided with shared office space, staff access to Griffith University resources and an honorarium of $5,000. A relocation airfare may also be included. The duration of the Fellowship is flexible up to a period of one year.

Applications close 31 March 2018. For further information contact the Director of the Harry Gentle Resource Centre, Professor Regina Ganter, on 3735 7238 or via email at