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Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous UNSW and Professor of Law, UNSW

Professor Megan Davis is a Cobble Cobble Aboriginal woman who grew up in the North Burnett, in Hervey Bay and Eagleby (Logan City). Professor Davis is Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous UNSW and Professor of Law, UNSW Law.

Professor Davis was elected by the UN Human Rights Council to UNEMRIP in 2017. Professor Davis currently serves as a United Nations expert with the UN Human Rights Council's Expert Mechanism on the rights of Indigenous peoples based in UN Geneva and Professor Davis has recently been appointed Balnaves Chair for Constitutional Law. Megan is an Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Professor Davis is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. She is a member of the NSW Sentencing Council and an Australian Rugby League Commissioner. Professor Davis was Director of the Indigenous Law Centre, UNSW Law from 2006-2016.

Professor Davis is formerly Chair and expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2011-2016). As UNPFII expert she was the focal point for UN Women and UN AIDS. During this period of UN service, Megan was the Rapporteur of the UN EGM on an Optional Protocol to the UNDRIP in 2015, the Rapporteur of the UN EGM on Combating violence against Indigenous women and girls in 2011 and the UN Rapporteur for the International EGM on Indigenous Youth in 2012. Megan has extensive experience as an international lawyer at the UN and participated in the drafting of the UNDRIP from 1999-2004 and is a former UN Fellow of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Professor Davis is a constitutional lawyer who researches in public law and public international law. Her current research focuses on constitutional design, democratic theory and Indigenous peoples. Professor Davis has been the leading constitutional lawyer working on Indigenous constitutional reform since 2011. In 2015 she was appointed by the Prime Minister to the Referendum Council and designed the deliberative constitutional dialogue process the Council undertook. In 2011, Megan was also appointed to the Prime Minister's Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution and continues to be involved in legal discussions on the constitutional issues relating to the referendum model.

Professor Davis was named in the 2017 Australian Financial Review annual power list and was awarded the overall winner in 2018’s Women of Influence. She was ranked number 7 on the Cultural power list for her work on constitutional reform and delivering the Uluru Statement From the Heart. Professor Davis has also been the 2010 NAIDOC Scholar of the Year; one of Australian Financial Review and Westpac's 100 Women of Influence in Australia in 2013 and 2016; National Australia Bank/Women's Agenda Inspirational Ambassador Award in 2013; the University of Queensland Alumni Award for services to the UN and constitutional reform in 2014; the 58th E.S. Meyers Memorial Medal in 2015; the Duchesne College, University of Queensland Acorn Award in 2015 and; the United Nations Association of Australia QLD UN Award in 2017.

She is the co-author with Prof George Williams of ‘Everything you Need to Know About the Referendum to Recognise Indigenous Australians' (NewSouth Books) and co-author with Prof Marcia Langton of "It's Our Country: Indigenous Arguments for Meaningful Arguments for Constitutional Recognition and Reform" (MUP).

Megan is an admitted Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of the A.C.T. although currently not practising.

Megan supports the North Queensland Cowboys and the Queensland Maroons.

Experience

  • –present
    Professor of Law, UNSW Australia