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What you will learn

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As Victoria and other Australian jurisdictions engage in the early stages of treaty negotiations, it is vital the parties involved have a fundamental understanding of the treaty process.

This Melbourne MicroCert explores the important role international law plays in shaping contemporary treaty negotiations between Indigenous peoples and settler societies.

It's ideal for private, public and not-for-profit sector professionals, as well as First Nations, who will be engaged in treaty processes in coming years.

Explore how the concept of lawful relations influenced contemporary treaty negotiations

Develop a comprehensive understanding of treaty negotiations between Indigenous peoples and settler states.  Analyse and critique past government legislation on Indigenous affairs, and learn how contemporary treaty negotiations are guided by the principles of lawful relations.

Understand Indigenous sovereignty through the prism of international law

Examine key legal frameworks that govern relations between Indigenous peoples and settler states, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).  Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the UNDRIP in progressing relations, and compare the key differences between lawful and unlawful relations.

Engage with important legal concepts, integral to treaty negotiations

Explore critical concepts in treaty negotiations, including the legal right to self-determination and the principle of free, prior, and informed consent.  Understand how the right to give or hold consent empowers Indigenous people in treaty negotiations.

Understand how international law is shaping new treaty processes in Australia

Discuss the emergence of the treaty processes in Victoria and other Australian jurisdictions. Consider how the core principles of Indigenous sovereignty, as defined by international law, could help inform treaty in Victoria today.

Who you will learn from

Learn from skilled academic and professional experts who will share invaluable knowledge you can use in your job.

Professor Sarah Maddison

Director, The Australian Center, University of Melbourne

Sarah is interested in work that helps reconceptualise political relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Australian settler state. She's published widely in this field, including as author or editor of nine books. She's led numerous research projects and was an ARC Future Fellow for 2011-14, undertaking a project that examined reconciliation in Australia, South Africa, Northern Ireland, and Guatemala.

Dr Matthew Campbell

Subject Coordinator

Matthew has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, a Master of Applied Anthropology and a PhD. His principal research interest is the knowledge making practices that emerge in situations where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people work together, an interest built on a thirty career of work in epistemically complex situations, predominantly in northern Australia. His work sees epistemics, politics and ethics emerge as critical foci in addressing the ongoing legacy of colonisation in Australia.

Dr Julia Hurst


Julia (Darug/Dharawal/Stolen Generation descendent) is a lecturer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies and is Deputy Director of the Australian Centre. Her research explores fundamental questions of Australian Aboriginal identity in 21st century Australia, including the role of truth-telling in relation to treaty, and she has worked across academia, the arts and corporate sectors.

More from this series

Take multiple courses to deepen your knowledge or stack towards a full degree.

The Preparing for Treaty series

This series covers the critical knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to develop meaningful relationships between First Nations and governments or organisations, with the goal of progressing and transforming treaty negotiations.

Explore more from the Preparing for Treaty series:


For individuals

To take Lawful Relations with Indigenous Peoples as a stand-alone Melbourne MicroCert, you'll pay the normal course price.

$990.00 AUD (inc GST)

Please contact Student Support to discuss discounts and payment options for University of Melbourne staff or alumni, or to pay by invoice.

Enrol now
Registration closes Aug 20, 2023

For teams

If you have three or more team members who are keen to upskill with Lawful Relations with Indigenous Peoples, get in touch to discuss pricing. For large groups, we can also deliver and contextualise this course exclusively for your organisation.


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21 August – 17 September 2023

Registration closes Aug 20, 2023

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Course details

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