Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon




Image (left to right): Rob Springall (Chair, CASSE), Jamie Millier Tjupurrula (CASSE Program Manager, MTM), Nathan Brown (Translator and Cultural Advisor, CASSE), The Hon Mark Dreyfus, Pamela Nathan (Director - Aboriginal Australian Relations Program, CASSE), Martin Jugadai (Ngangkari, Cultural Consultant, RFDS), Senator Patrick Dodson, Anne Kantor (Deputy Chair, CASSE), Ken Lechleitner Pangarta (Research Officer, CAAC), at CASSE's recent symposium 

This is a historic and potentially transformative time

Aboriginal delegates from all over Australia have spent the week convening in Uluru, the mighty heart of Australia, under the co-leadership of the equally mighty Pat Anderson AO, to discuss constitutional reform and recognition. We look forward to hearing the outcome of their extensive discussions.

Today, Friday 26th of May, National Sorry Day, marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the 'Bringing Them Home' Report which acknowledged the trauma, grief and loss suffered by the Stolen Generations.

Tomorrow, the 27th of May, is the 50th anniversary of Australia's most resounding referendum victory - the 1967 'yes' vote to count Aboriginal people as citizens of Australia.

This milestone heralds the start of National Reconciliation Week (NRW) - the 27th of May to 3rd June. According to Reconciliation Australia, NRW "celebrates and builds on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians". The week concludes with the 25th anniversary of the landmark 'Mabo' High Court ruling on the 3rd of June 1992 that paved the way for Native Title land rights.

As you will know, CASSE hosted a symposium on the 25th of March to discuss 'recognition' and contribute to the national dialogue on constitutional reform. A compilation of the conference presentations, papers and key themes was presented to the Reconciliation Council and to Pat Anderson. 

To honour all of these important events, we are proud to share the highlights and presentations from CASSE's symposium in this special edition of our newsletter. We hope you will find new and useful insights within this rich tapestry of thoughts.

Kurruna Mwarre

Pamela Nathan
Director - CASSE Aboriginal Australian Relations Program


The Day After Tomorrow - a CASSE Symposium on Breakthrough Recognition

Starting with the question, 'what does a nation that sees, hears and knows – that recognises – all of its peoples look like?', CASSE's recent symposium, 'The Day After Tomorrow - a CASSE Symposium on Breakthrough Recognition' explored the notion of 'recognition' from different angles.  

Taking the day after recognition as a possible starting, or end, point, the symposium provided a forum for important thinkers from Central Australia to share their knowledge and work with some of Australia’s key Indigenous, political and cultural leaders, and to journey through the unrecognised trails of trauma to shine a light on breakthroughs to achieve recognition, change minds and save lives.

We are proud to share the presentations and key themes from this important event with you.

Breakthrough Recognition Symposium Booklet

Due to its size, this booklet has been divided into 3 parts, but it is intended to be read as a whole

CASSE  Breakthrough Recognition Symposium Booklet Part 1 of 3

CASSE Breakthrough Recognition Symposium Booklet Part 2 of 3

CASSE Breakthrough Recognition Symposium Booklet Part 3 of 3

Videos of Presentations

These videos are displayed in order of the day's proceedings

Introduction to 'The Day After Tomorrow Breakthrough Recognition Symposium'

Lord Alderdice

Kieran Finnane

Dr Craig San Roque

Ken Lechleitner Pangarta

Pamela Nathan

The Hon Mark Dreyfus

Senator Patrick Dodson

Dr Timothy Keogh

Alexis Wright

Panel discussion and closing of symposium


  • We are all collectively the inheritors and generators of the country’s psyche and national narrative. The absence of recognition has effectively silenced Aboriginal people from contributing their own story to this narrative.
  • Recognition – being seen, being heard, being known – is psychologically essential.
  • Recognition can only come from another person whom we, in turn, recognise as different and valuable in his or her own right.
  • Psychological recognition constitutes constitutional recognition and vice versa.
  • The past has a living presence. By learning lessons from the past, from each other and with each other, we have the possibility of moving forward together into the future.
  • Disrespect, humiliation, disregard for what is important to you and your people are all extraordinarily toxic.
  • Recognition needs to be followed by respect - for people and for the rights of people, as individuals and communities.
  • ‘Contact zones’ – such as Alice Springs – ‘the eye of the storm’ are important for their transformative, generative possibilities.
  • ‘Recognition’ means learning to appreciate each other’s complexity and at the same time speaking in clear language that communicates essential facts and clear (not hidden) ideas. It is about thinking clearly, understanding clearly and listening with care. Together.
  • Without recognition, a psychological state of terra nullius prevails.
  • Psychoanalytic endeavour is the story of recognition. Do you see me? Do you know me? Do you see my pain? Recognising the unfolding emotional world catalyses the narrative of pain and provides the healing transformations from breakdowns to breakthroughs.
  • Appreciation of the other's reality – mutual recognition –gives rise to the establishment of shared reality and empathy.
  • Why would you not recognise and acknowledge the history and language of Aboriginal peoples – who have inhabited this nation for tens of thousands of years - in a revised constitution of Australia?
  • Recognition is about understanding how Aboriginal people can work and live in Australia’s mono-cultural structure while possessing bi-cultural richness.
  • Recognition transcends the politics of fear and guilt of the nation and works towards a reconciliation based on truth, healing and justice.
  • Recognition involves an opportunity for affected individuals and communities to be supported in recognising who they are and to address their trauma/intergenerational trauma and move towards healing.
  • Sharing each other’s stories and emotional experiences allow us to envision and dream together. It provides a basis for significant political and social change.
  • Recognition facilitates health, psychological growth, aliveness and realness.



How can you support our work?

To make a donation, please contact us: phone 0450 540 366 or email enquiries@cassse.org.au .

CASSE Australia Inc (ABN: 17811 536 315) is registered in Australia as a Deductible Gift Recipient. All donations over $2 made to CASSE Australia are tax deductible and go directly towards supporting our programs.