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Mick Dodson

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Mick Dodson
Dodson in 2014
Michael James Dodson

(1950-04-10) 10 April 1950 (age 74)
EducationMonivae College
Alma materMonash University
Occupation(s)Barrister and academic; Professor of Law at the Australian National University
Known for
RelativesPat Dodson (brother)

Michael James Dodson AM, FASSA (born 10 April 1950) is an Aboriginal Australian barrister, academic, and member of the Yawuru people in the Broome area of the southern Kimberley region of Western Australia.[1]

His brother is Pat Dodson, also a noted Aboriginal leader and from 2016 to 2024 a senator in the Federal Parliament, representing Western Australia.


Following his parents' death, he boarded at Monivae College, Hamilton, Victoria. He graduated with degrees in Jurisprudence and Law from Monash University in 1974, as the first Indigenous person to graduate from law in Australia. Following graduation, he worked as a criminal solicitor for the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, and later as a criminal defence barrister at the Victorian Bar, where he still practises as a barrister specialising in native title. He has worked extensively as a legal adviser in native title and human rights, and as an academic in Indigenous law. He is currently Professor of Law at the Australian National University, as the director of its National Centre for Indigenous Studies, and has lectured as a visiting academic at the University of Arizona and Harvard University respectively. Dodson's efforts for the rights of indigenous people around the world in 2005 made him a member of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.[2]

He has been a prominent advocate of land rights and other issues affecting Indigenous peoples in Australia and globally and has extensive involvement in the United Nations Forum on Indigenous Issues. He is the Chief Investigator for the Serving Our Country: a history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the defence of Australia project, an Australian Research Council-funded research project based at The Australian National University.[3]

On 25 January 2009, he was named Australian of the Year.[4][5][6]

As of 2023 he lives and works in Canberra. He has been active in politics of Australian government, justice and crime prevention.[7]

Dodson retired from ANU in March 2018.[8]

On 10 October 2023, Dodson was one of 25 Australians of the Year who signed an open letter supporting the Yes vote in the Indigenous Voice referendum, initiated by psychiatrist Patrick McGorry.[9][10]


Honorary doctorates[edit]


It is alleged that Mick Dodson verbally abused a woman at an NTFL game. The incident was investigated by the NT government but the outcome was not disclosed.[15]


  1. ^ "Biography: Mick Dodson". National Museum of Australia.
  2. ^ "Mick Dodson: AUSTRALIAN ACTIVIST AND SCHOLAR". Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  3. ^ "Serving our Country: Indigenous Australians, war, defence and citizenship". The Australian National University. Canberra: National Centre for Indigenous Studies ANU College of Asia & the Pacific. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  4. ^ Mick Dodson named Australian of the Year
  5. ^ Lewis, Wendy (2010). Australians of the Year. Pier 9 Press. ISBN 978-1-74196-809-5.
  6. ^ Redner, Erica Jaffe (6 December 2011). "Voice of Conscience: Mick Dodson’s Place Amidst Australia’s Unfinished Business". Cultural Survival Quarterly 35-4.
  7. ^ Areas of expertise
  8. ^ The final lecture
  9. ^ Butler, Josh (11 October 2023). "Australian of the Year winners sign open letter saying no vote in voice referendum would be a 'shameful dead end'". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  10. ^ Winter, Velvet (10 October 2023). "Voice referendum live updates: Australians of the Year Yes vote letter in full". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  11. ^ Stephens, Tony (11 December 2022). "From the Archives, 1997: Australia's 100 living treasures named". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 November 2023.
  12. ^ "Dr Michael James DODSON". Australian Honours Search Facility. Retrieved 25 November 2023.
  13. ^ "Council". Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. 2 December 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  14. ^ "Academy Fellow – Professor Michael Dodson AM, FASSA, MAICD". Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Retrieved 25 November 2023.
  15. ^ "NT government concludes investigation into complaint against Treaty Commissioner Mick Dodson". ABC News. 19 May 2021. Retrieved 16 June 2021.

External links[edit]