Our Researchers

Professor Frank Brennan SJ AO

Frank Brennan is a Jesuit priest and CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University College of Law and National Centre for Indigenous Studies. Prior to this, he was Professor of Law at Australian Catholic University. He was the founding director of Uniya, the Australian Jesuit Social Justice Centre and a board member of St Vincents Health Australia. He holds Bachelor and Master Degrees in law and a Bachelor degree in divinity.

Frank was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to Aboriginal Australians in 1995, particularly for his work as an advocate in the areas of law, social justice and reconciliation. In 1996 he was jointly awarded (with Pat Dodson) the inaugural Australian Council for Overseas Aid Human Rights Award, and was Rapporteur at the Australian Reconciliation Convention during 1997. The following year he was appointed an Ambassador for Reconciliation by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and was named a Living National Treasure during his involvement in the Wik debate. In 2002 he was awarded the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal for his work as Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in East Timor.


  • Acting on Conscience: How can we responsibly mix law, religion and politics? (University of Queensland Press, 2007).
  • Tampering with Asylum: A Universal Humanitarian Problem 2nd Ed. (University of Queensland Press, 2007).
  • The Wik Debate: Its Impact on Aborigines, Pastoralists and Miners (University of New South Wales Press, 1998).
  • "Self-Determination: The Limits of Allowing Aboriginal Communities to be a Law Unto Themselves", University of New South Wales Law Journal, Vol. 16 (1993).
  • "Social and Political Influences on Aboriginal Spirituality", The Way Supplement, No 78, (Autumn, 1993).
  • One land, One nation: Mabo – towards 2000 (University of Queensland Press, 1995).
  • "Waiting for the Resolution" Australian Quarterly, Vol. 61 (1989).
  • Too much order with too little law (University of Queensland Press, 1983).

Dr Damien Freeman

Damien Freeman is a visiting scholar at the PM Glynn Institute. He founded and directs the Governor-General's Prize for the Constitution Education Fund Australia. Together with Julian Leeser MP, he established Uphold and Recognise, a non-profit organisation committed to upholding the Australian Constitution and recognising Indigenous Australians. In 2015, Noel Pearson launched The Australian Declaration of Recognition, a pamphlet written by Freeman and Leeser.

Damien lectures on ethics and aesthetics at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and convenes a public conversation series with Dr Simon Longstaff AO at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. He is currently working on a project investigating the conservative cast of mind in contemporary Australia, with particular reference to Tony Abbott.

He was educated at Masada College and the University of Sydney, where he read classical Hebrew and Aramaic, philosophy, and law, before pursuing doctoral studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Damien was admitted as a Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and a Licentiate of Trinity College London. He has previously served as legal clerk in the Crown Solicitor's Office seconded to the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Glenbrook Rail Accident, as tipstaff to the Hon. Mr Justice K. R. Handley AO, private secretary to Lord Brennan QC, and assistant to Sir Charles Mackerras CH AC CBE. He has contributed to public debate in Quadrant, Spectator, Weekend Australian, and Australian Financial Review, and on ABC Radio's Counterpoint, Weekend Arts, and Between the Lines programmes.

Damien has also published articles in: Public Law Review, Constitutional Law and Policy Review, Australian Bar Review, Harvard Review of Philosophy, Literature and Aesthetics and Journal of Aesthetic Education.


  • Freeman, D. & Morris, S. (Eds.), The Forgotten People: Liberal and conservative approaches to recognising indigenous peoples (Melbourne University Press, 2016).
  • Freeman, D. & Matravers, D. (Eds.), Figuring Out Figurative Art: Contemporary philosophers on contemporary paintings (Routledge, 2015).
  • The Aunt's Mirrors: Family experience and meaningfulness – a memoir (Brandl & Schlesinger, 2014).
  • Art's Emotions: Ethics, expression and aesthetic experience (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2012).