David Wallace Address 2020
Professor Maggie Walter
Driven by a deep personal quest for equality for Australia’s First Peoples.
Professor Maggie Walter (PhD; FASSA) is palawa descending from the pairrebenne people of North Eastern Tasmania and is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Tasmania. The centre of Maggie’s intellectual passion are Indigenous statistics. Maggie is a sociologist whose research is focused on race relations, inequality, research methods and methodologies. She is the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor of Aboriginal Research and Leadership at the University of Tasmania. Maggie is passionate about improving the position of Aboriginal people in Australian society and changing the dynamics around race relations.
“My focus is to disrupt, through empirical and theoretically linked research, the often pernicious assumptions that underpin how Indigenous people are represented,” she said
“As one of the few quantitative Indigenous researchers in Australia my research has sought to challenge the established practices of Indigenous statistics which continuously focus on deficit indicators.”
The deficit indicators, and continual marginalisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the spectrum of society, is at the heart of Professor Walter’s research efforts.
“What I have sought to do is to demonstrate that the disparate position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia is founded on long-term structural inequality, rather than Indigenous inadequacy, and that we cannot close the gap until those structural issues, such a social and political marginalisation, racism and paternalism are addressed,” she said.
“Indigenous leadership and Indigenous decision making are central to making those changes.”
As Pro Vice-Chancellor - Aboriginal Research and Leadership - at the University of Tasmania, Professor Walter has and continues to lead the national conversation underpinning these changes.
Maggie is widely published in her fields of research. She is the editor and co-author of the best-selling Social Research Methods and co-author of Inequality in Australia: Discourses, Realities and Directions and Indigenous Statistics: a quantitative methodology. She is a founding member of the Maiam nayri Wingara Indigenous Data Sovereignty Collective and the Global Indigenous Data Alliance and has published extensively in the field including, Indigenous Statistics: A Quantitative Research Methodology (co-authored with C. Andersen 2013 Routledge) and is co-editor (with Karen Martin and Gawaian Bodkin-Andrews, Palgrave McMillan, 2017) of Indigenous Children Growing Up Strong.