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Charles Sturt launches Yindyamarra Pledge for Democracy

[by Trease Clarke]


Rector of Newman College at the University of Melbourne, Father Frank Brennan SJ AO; Aunty Matilda House; Charles Sturt Professor of First Nations Belonging Stan Grant Jr; Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor Professor Renèe Leon; Charles Sturt Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Mark Evans. Image: supplied

Charles Sturt University invited all Australians to take the Yindyamarra Pledge for Democracy (the Pledge), through Professor of First Nations Belonging Stan Grant Jr.

The Pledge is a gift from the Wiradjuri people to all Australians to show support for building a better national democracy which truly includes and respects all Australian people.

Professor Grant launched the Pledge in Canberra on Monday 17 October with Charles Sturt University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Mark Evans, and high-profile Australians including:

  • Dr Nick Coatsworth, Physician, Leader, Speaker, and former Deputy Chief Medical Officer

  • Father Frank Brennan SJ AO, Rector of Newman College at the University of Melbourne

  • Mariam Veiszadeh, CEO of Media Diversity Australia

  • Catherine Marriott OAM, CEO Riverine Plains Inc

  • Virginia Haussegger AM, award winning journalist and rights advocate

  • Tim Costello AO, Director of Ethical Voice, Advisor at Centre for Public Christianity

  • Ms Sisonke Msimang, thought leader, Storyteller, and Author

  • Daryl Karp AM, Director Australian Maritime Museum

  • Mark Kenny, Australian Journalist and Professor at the Australian Studies Institute at the Australian National University


The Yindyamarra Pledge for Democracy is adapted from reflections in Professor Grant’s 2019 book, Australia Day.

Professor Grant launched the Pledge on Monday in response to a public discourse on democracy in Australia which he argues has turned toxic.

“Australia stands poised on the brink of history. Within the next three years, the nation will vote in a referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. This invites us to imagine our nation anew,” Professor Grant said.

“Democracy everywhere is staggering under the weight of tribalism and populism. We confront a post-truth, post-liberal age with a polarised and partisan media.

“I invite all Australians to take the Yindyamarra Pledge for Democracy. It’s an opportunity for all Australians to set aside their historic prejudices, adopt Gulbali values of respect, kindness, quiet reflection and justice and in the spirit of Yindyamarra, engage in respectful conversation and debate on the future of Australian democracy.”

Professor Evans co-hosted the launch of the Pledge and encouraged those unable to attend the launch in Canberra to show their support online by e-signing the Pledge and sharing on their social media accounts.

“The Yindyamarra Pledge for Democracy re-sets the conversation around the purpose of the referendum on enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament,” Professor Evans said.

“It asks Australians to commit to reimagining our democracy in a way where people acknowledge and respect each other’s differences while moving forward together to jointly craft the best democracy that we can be.”

The Pledge extends Charles Sturt University’s ethos, which is centred on the Wiradjuri philosophy of Yindyamarra Winhanganha, which means ‘the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in’.

Professor Stan Grant Jnr commenced his first appointment at Charles Sturt as the Chair of Indigenous Affairs in 2016.


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