Queensland Law Society

President's Update

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This week is, of course, NAIDOC Week, a time for celebration across Australia.

The NAIDOC acronym originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’, which organised national activities during the week to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

And it is important to remember that it is a time for all Australians to join in this celebration. NAIDOC Week is for all parts of our rich, multi-cultural, Australian society to share and appreciate the many facets of one of its most important sectors.

As you may have noted on our Facebook page, I was among those who enjoyed attending the Brisbane flag-raising ceremony on Monday to mark the start of the week. This included some spectacular performances by the Yulu Burri Ba Aboriginal Dance Troupe, the Wagga Torres Strait Islander Dance Company and Yugambeh Youth Choir, followed by the raising of the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Australian and Queensland flags.

Appropriately, we have chosen today for the launch of our QLS Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), preceded by a webstream of a session with Dr Diana Eades on how linguistic and cultural factors should be taken into account when practitioners work with Indigenous clients.

At the RAP launch itself, also being streamed live, I will make the point that our RAP seeks to promote unity and respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous Australians.

It states that we aim to improve access to our legal system for budding lawyers who identify as First Nations Peoples, to support current Indigenous lawyers, and to encourage Indigenous legal professionals to succeed in their careers and go on to represent First Nations people in our judicial system.

I will also remind attendees that a RAP is not simply for the Law Society, it is for all of us. It is for our members, and also the wider profession. It is for our students, and our families. It is for our judiciary, and also for the wider community.

I encourage everyone to visit our new First Nations People page, to take a look at the RAP and consider its potential relevance to your daily lives.

For us, NAIDOC Week will wrap up on Friday, when we join with the Indigenous Lawyers Association of Queensland on a stall at the Musgrave Park Family Fun Day. If you have a moment, please drop by to enjoy the traditional (and contemporary) food offerings or watch the live performances on one of the three stages.

Christine Smyth

QLS president