Professor Megan Davis, Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous and Professor of Law at UNSW Sydney, has been named the Balnaves Chair in Constitutional Law endowed by The Balnaves Foundation, on the third anniversary of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The Balnaves Foundation has committed $1.25 million to UNSW’s Indigenous Law Centre to establish a term Chair in Constitutional Law for Professor Davis to enable her to ensure the advancement of this critical national agenda.
Prof Davis said, “It is an honour to be named Balnaves Chair in Constitutional Law. My priorities as Chair will be to provide the academic rigour needed to inform development of proposals for constitutional amendment and institutional design of a voice to Parliament, as well as the foundations of a future Makarrata Commission as set down in the Uluru Statement, to oversee agreement making across the federation and to facilitate truth telling processes.”
President and Vice-Chancellor at UNSW Sydney Ian Jacobs said the University has been proud to be part of this journey through UNSW’s Indigenous Law Centre based at UNSW Law, the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous and the many students and colleagues who supported the movement.
“I wholeheartedly congratulate Prof Davis on her appointment as Chair and thank The Balnaves Foundation for making it possible,” Prof Jacobs said. “The strong engagement with the Month of Awareness on social media is a reminder of the importance of constitutional reform and the ongoing momentum to champion a constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice.”
The Balnaves Foundation has a longstanding relationship with UNSW, with a total philanthropic commitment to the University of nearly $5.5 million, including more than $2.5 million to Indigenous medical scholarships and a further $75,000 towards the UNSW Indigenous Law Centre and their work on progressing the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The Balnaves Chair in Constitutional Law is a gift in honour of Alexandra Balnaves, who passed away in April last year. Alexandra was the daughter of Diane and Neil Balnaves AO, sister to Hamish and Victoria Balnaves, and mother to Caillean and Leith Honor.
“Megan’s work in constitutional reform was very important to Alexandra. It gives us great pleasure to support this ongoing effort in a way that Alexandra would have wholeheartedly embraced,” Neil Balnaves AO said. “I was privileged to have a close relationship with Alexandra, who deeply understood the potential for structural reform and was a great source of professional strength to me throughout the Referendum Council’s dialogue process,” Prof Davis said.
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