Theodore joined the UQ School of Law as a PhD student in 2021. His doctoral research is funded by the Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) and the Richard Cooper Scholarship. Prior to undertaking his PhD, Theodore practised as a lawyer in France, in a number of companies and law firms. He later completed a Master of Laws at the University of Melbourne, during which he carried out research on Indigenous self-determination and land repatriation movements taking place in settler-colonial societies. In parallel, Theodore worked as a Policy Officer at Aboriginal Victoria (Department of Premier and Cabinet) and as a Research Assistant at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

Theodore’s research interests also include economic and social rights issues relevant to the contemporary Australian policy landscape, the rise of post-neoliberal movements in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, as well as the resurgence of innovative socio-economic concepts in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

​HDR project title: The potential of treaty-making in re-defining Indigenous-state relations: Towards Indigenous emancipation from the Australian colonial order?

Supervisors: Dr Dylan Lino (UQ Law), Dr Elizabeth Strakosch (UQ Polsis), Professor Megan Davis (UNSW Law).

Project overview

Theodore’s thesis investigates the nature, purpose, implications, and potentialities of the Indigenous state and territory treaty processes recently initiated in Victoria, Queensland, and the Northern Territory. By examining the ways in which these new treaty relationships are meant to operate within the Australian structure of sovereignty, the kinds of dialogue they establish between Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties, and the expectations and visions of Indigenous self-determination these relationships convey, Theodore’s research seeks to capture the Indigenous emancipatory potential of these treaty processes in view of the Australian colonial order. His work is based on a multi-disciplinary, comparative, and empirical approach, undertaken under the supervision of key experts in legal, settler-colonial and Indigenous studies.


  • Theodore Butcher-Cornet, ‘Recognising Indigenous Conceptions of Custodianship in Environmental Law’ (2020) 28(3) Australian Law Librarian Journal 156-160.
  • Theodore Butcher-Cornet, ‘The Victorian treaty process: towards an authentic and meaningful form of Indigenous self-determination?’ (LL.M. Thesis, University of Melbourne 2020).