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  • The University of Western Australia (M303), 35 Stirling Highway, Room G10, Shenton House, Perth campus

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Mel Thomas graduated from The University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Arts (History) and a Bachelor of Laws in 1996 and a Master of Laws by Research in 2002 on the human rights foundation of international law. Mel’s LLM thesis entitled The Search for The Foundation of International Law, was supervised by Dr Peter Johnston from UWA’s Faculty of Law and passed by two external examiners in 2001. An abridged version of this thesis was subsequently published by an A ranked Journal: Outskirts in 2005 at:

Mel was first appointed to The University of Western Australia as a associate lecturer in the School of Indigenous Studies in 1999 for Aboriginal students.

At the School of Indigenous Studies Mel has taken the Co-ordination of the Aboriginal Pre-Law Program (2009-2011); coordination of the Advanced Diploma in Indigenous Legal Studies (2013-2016); has acted as the School’s Associate Dean of Research; and is the Program Coordinator for the Indigenous Knowledge, History and Heritage Major.In 2009 Mel was joint recipient with Professors Milroy, Bartlett and Morgan of the Neville Bonner Award for Indigenous Education in Australia.

Previous positions

Mel was a Lecturer at the West Coast College of TAFE from 1996 to 1999, where he taught legal studies and human rights in the department of Community Services.

Teaching overview

INDG1150 - Aboriginal Encounters - Strangers in Our Backyard

INDG3400 - Indigenous Peoples and Global Issues

INDG2200 - Advanced Indigenous Legal Studies

Teaching Awards

2018 – Semester 2: Students’ Guild Choice Awards for INDG1150 – Aboriginal Encounters: Strangers in our Backyard

2016 – Excellence in Teaching Award, School of Indigenous Studies, UWA

2009 - Neville Bonner Award for Indigenous Education in Australia with Professors Milroy, Morgan and Bartlett

1999 – Jan Brennan Memorial Award for TAFE Teaching (West Coast College of TAFE, Carine Campus)

Roles and responsibilities

Indigenous Knowledge, History and Heritage Major Coordinator

Indigenous Law Coordinator





M Thomas, A history of Aboriginal rights in WA, Digital or Visual Products, ABC Education, 2019, Non-traditional research output

Articles/chapters Sole author (peer reviewed C1)

MA Thomas, ‘Aboriginal Resistance to Imperialistic and Nationalistic Ideologies’ in KBS Krishna Ed Homogeneity in Heterogeneity – Memory and Resistance in Aboriginal Literature from Around the World, Authorspress, New Delhi, 2018, pp. 52-72 B1

MA Thomas, ‘Critical and Indigenous Peoples’ Perspectives of Universal Human Rights’ The Cultural and Literacy Nationalism of Fourth World, 1, December 2015, 2, pp. 147-158. C1

MA Thomas, 'Representations of Justice and Human Rights in Literature, Drama and Popular Culture', The Journal of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia (ISAA), 12, 1, 2013, pp. 51-65. Output category: C1

MA Thomas ‘Cosmopolitanism, Law and the Challenge of Globalisation’ Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, vol 1, 2012 Output category: C1

MA Thomas ‘A Legal Positivist Mind with a Natural Law Heart’ (Book Review: Pamela Burton’s From Moree to Mabo: The Mary Gaudron Story, UWA Publishing, 2011) Journal of the Independent Scholars of Australia Association vol 1, 2011

MA Thomas, ‘Law and Gay Identity’ Australasian Law Teachers Association Refereed Conferecne Papers 1, (2007) E1

MA Thomas ‘The Search for the Foundation of International Law’ Outskirts 2005 (UWA) vol 12, Online Journal at: Output category E1

MA Thomas ‘Indigenous Jurisprudence and Legal Education in the 21st Century’ ISAA Review: The Journal of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia, November 2005, vol 4, pp. 6-13 Output category: C1


MA Thomas, J Milroy and R Bartlett ‘Teaching and Learning the Law: The University of Western Australia Indigenous Law Program’ Indigenous Law Bulletin, 2010, vol 7 (19) Output category: C1 (DEST: .67 points)

MA Thomas and B Farmer ‘Aboriginal Law Students at the University of Western Australia’ Indigenous Law Bulletin, 2005, vol 11, p 6-11. Output category: C1 (DEST: .50 points)

H Goodwin, A Stuart and MA Thomas ‘Imprisonment for Contempt of the Western Australian Parliament’ The University of Western Australia Law Review Vol 25 (1), July 1995, pp. 189-201.Output category: C1.


  • Human rights
  • Indigenous legal education
  • International law jurisprudence and history
  • Indigenous Rights

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Melville Thomas is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Law Social Sciences
international law Social Sciences
natural law Social Sciences
history Social Sciences
human rights Social Sciences
government policy Social Sciences
sovereignty Social Sciences
student Social Sciences

Research Output 2001 2019

A history of Aboriginal rights in WA

Thomas, M., 2019

Research output: Non-traditional research outputDigital or Visual Products

government policy

Gay Humanism and Higher Education: - A Rights-based Approach

Thomas, M., 2019, (In preparation) Authorspress. 132 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Aboriginal Resistance to Imperialistic and Nationalistic Ideologies

Thomas, M. A., 2018, Homogeneity in Heterheneity: Memory, Culture and Resistance in Aboriginal Literatures from Around the World. Krishna, KBS. & Bansal, H. R. (eds.). 1 ed. New Delhi: Authorspress, p. 52-72 20 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

Projects 2019 2019

Activities 2011 2019

  • 1 Contribution to a conference
  • 1 Public lecture, debate or seminar
  • 1 Visiting an external academic institution

A History of Aboriginal Rights in WA

Melville Thomas (Speaker)

Activity: Service and engagementPublic lecture, debate or seminar

National Indigenous Legal Conference

Melville Thomas (Participant)
25 Sep 201826 Sep 2018

Activity: Conferences and workshopsContribution to a conference

Venice Academy of Human Rights

Melville Thomas (Visiting researcher)
11 Jul 201116 Jul 2011

Activity: External visitsVisiting an external academic institution