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Annual Frank Walker Lecture 2019

“Hundreds of thousands of hectares of stolen land had been taken without compensation – and this was the basis for the lands rights legislation…it was about politicising the Aboriginal community, about giving them a political base around the state to organise in local communities and look after their self-interest” – Frank Walker, 2012, in one of the final interviews before his passing, on the introduction of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976.

Frank Walker’s life was full of ambition and achievement – but one of his crowning achievements was introducing the first state-based land rights legislation in Australia. While Frank’s legacy has never been forgotten, his legacy was only one step in the nationwide move toward reconciliation which continues to this day.

Now with the announcement by the Federal Government that a referendum on constitutional recognition will take place within three years, Australians have the opportunity to achieve another milestone in the path to reconciliation.

But referendums are never to be taken for granted – and debate continues over what form the constitutional change will take. To chart this path to recognition, to celebrate Frank’s life, and to discuss Federal Labor’s position on the referendum, the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers is honoured to this year have the Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, deliver the Annual Frank Walker Lecture on the topic:

“The way forward on Uluru”

Join friends and family of Frank, fellow practitioners, academics and students to celebrate the life of a great Labor reformer. The lecture will be followed by light refreshments at a nearby venue to be advised following registration. Registration is essential - please fill in the form below. 


Linda Burney MP is the Member for Barton in Sydney’s south and, amongst other portfolios, the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians. A Wiradjuri woman, Ms Burney was the first indigenous woman elected to the House of Representatives. Prior to entering Federal Parliament, Ms Burney served 13 years as the Member for Canterbury in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, which included periods in various government ministerial portfolios and as Deputy Leader of the Opposition in New South Wales. Leading a distinguished career, Ms Burney has been a trailblazer in state and federal parliaments and a lead advocate in the indigenous community. Described as an “integral” to the referendum for indigenous recognition by Australia’s Minister for Indigenous Affairs – Ms Burney is expected to play a leading role in the lead up to and during the recognition campaign. 


Frank Walker was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for the Georges River electorate from 1970 to 1988. He served as the 41st Attorney General of NSW from 1976 to 1983. Following his state parliamentary career Frank ran successfully for the seat of Robertson in 1990 and represented the electorate until the 1996 election. During his political life, Frank was a reformist, overseeing significant legislative change in the areas of land rights, criminal law, and discrimination law.


October 08, 2019 at 6:00pm - 9pm
The Mitchell Theatre, Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 280 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000

Will you come?