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Foreword by Noel Pearson

The Forgotten People challenges the assumption that constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians is a project of the left in Australia.

It demonstrates that there may be a set of reforms that can achieve the change sought by indigenous leaders, while addressing the critical concerns of constitutional conservatives and classical liberals. More than that, this collection illustrates the genuine goodwill that many Australians, including Major General Michael Jeffery, Cardinal George Pell, Chris Kenny and Malcolm Mackerras, share for achieving indigenous recognition that is practically useful and symbolically powerful.


This book is fascinating because it represents the important foundational step of those constitutional conservatives who believe there is a sound reason for change then embarking on the task of convincing each other how that change could be best achieved ...’

Christian Porter MP

A marvellous collection of considered and passionate responses from leading Australians.

Janet Albrechtsen

I urge you to open this book and your mind to engage in making a better Australia.

Rachel Perkins

A most timely book.

Michael Kirby

The Forgotten People is a further important contribution to this debate. It signals an ongoing commitment and intellectual contribution by a leading cast of conservative figures to the goal of changing the Australian Constitution to recognise indigenous peoples.

George Williams, The Australian

This collection draws attention to the need for another kind of reconciliation: between the political right and left on constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples.

Fiona Capp, The Age/SMH

I read The Forgotten People with enthusiasm. Shireen and Damien have achieved something noteworthy here. They identified that strong leadership and support for Indigenous affairs and Indigenous recognition has often come from the conservative side of politics...This book identifies important perspectives in the debate around Indigenous recognition, and gives these views a platform, and, as the editors point out, these voices are not the last word, and their book should be considered alongside another MUP publication, It’s Our Country.

Robert Doyle, Lord Mayor of Melbourne

It’s long overdue for arrivals to Australia over the last 200 years to recognise the majesty of 40-60,000 years of civilisation of our Indigenous people, and this book sets the pathway to achieve this objective.

Andrew Robb

This book … is a wonderful building block because it brings together some people that you would not expect to support constitutional change, to a position where they either support or they are prepared to consider.

Jeff Kennett

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    March 15, 2016

    Melbourne University Press

    216 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    March 15, 2016

    Melbourne University Press Digital

    270 pages

    Online retailers

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Also by Damien Freeman

Abbott's Right


The Politics Of Suffering
Introducing George The Poet
Songlines and Fault Lines
From the Edge
It's Our Country
Serious Whitefella Stuff
Advanced Australia
The Short Long Book
Imagining Futures
Am I Black Enough For You?
Against Remembrance
First Australians (Unillustrated)
No Mean Glasgow
The Racket