Queensland Law Society

RAP Working Group updates

The inaugural QLS LawLink in the Regions – Townsville 2019

Queensland Law Society’s LawLink has expanded its First Nations student networking program through its RAP commitment in May this year. The student networking program was established by the Equity and Diversity committee in 2004 and continues to be a successful offering. 

The President, Bill Potts, along with Anita Goon, the First Nations Legal Executive, attended and organised the event to connect the Queensland Legal Profession with First Nations Legal Students, in partnership with James Cook University. The event held at JCU’s Indigenous Education and Research Centre in Townsville is the start to meaningful engagement, as this was the first event in regional Queensland for the program. Good work to Bill and Anita and keep a look out for our next event in August 2019 at the Law Society House in Brisbane.

QLS RAP Working Group meeting update - 21 May 2019

The Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group (RAPWG) met and addressed the importance of Queensland Law Society’s LawLink in the regions as part of its RAP commitment.

RAPWG discussed further Initiatives including exploring opportunities for cultural intelligence training for staff within QLS.

The RAPWG raised concerns regarding the current crisis in communities with respect to the youth suicide rate and the proportion of women and children being incarcerated. The next RAPWG meeting will be in August. Watch this space!

QLS RAP Working Group meeting update - 19 February 2019

The RAP Working Group congratulated Ms Anita Goon for her tireless work and her new appointment as the First Nations Legal Executive and the Society’s first RAP Team regional representative, based in Townsville. The RAPWG also discussed the strengths and weaknesses regarding cultural awareness for staff and recommendations in engaging further with a First Nations service provider.

With relationships being a key pillar of the RAP, the RAPWG discussed internal and external engagement strategies while also supporting the summary of the initiatives achieved thus far by QLS.  

QLS RAP Working Group meeting update - 11 October 2018

The RAP Working Group discussed the roll out of the cultural awareness training and noted there is strong interest about learning more about kinship with First Nations peoples. The RAP Working Group also discussed the latest report, which is on track in regards with the three key pillars of Respect, Relationships and Opportunities set out in the RAP.

QLS RAP Working Group meeting update - 16 May 2018

The Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group (RAPWG) has met for the second time this year on 16 May 2018.

At its meeting, the RAPWG congratulated Judge Nathan Jarro on his appointment to the District Court of Queensland, and acknowledged the significance of this appointment as Queensland’s first First Nations judge.

The RAPWG discussed trends concerning the adoption and implementation of Reconciliation Action Plans by Queensland law firms. It was observed that 5 law practices currently have active RAPs, however it was noted than many other firms also engage in activities aimed to close the gap between First Nations and non-First Nations Australians.

The RAPWG discussed QLS initiatives including releasing a Cultural Calendar and celebrating the first anniversary of the QLS RAP Launch in July.

The RAPWG meets quarterly and is scheduled to next meet on 7 August 2018.

IT’s a RAP! – Quarterly Update Jan – March 2018

The QLS Reconciliation Action Plan and the RAP Working Group has started the year with a bang. Here is an update for the first quarter of the Queensland Law Society’s RAP for 2018.

At our first meeting of the year we had the pleasure of welcoming Ms Bianca Jarro-Hill as the new Deputy Chair of the RAPWG. Bianca is an Aboriginal woman and descendant of the Kabi Kabi and Wakka Wakka peoples, and is an Indigenous Project Officer with the QUT Faculty of Law.

On the 13th February the 10th Anniversary of the National Apology to Stolen Generation, the Queensland Law Society held a special Elders event to commemorate the day. This was an opportunity not only to acknowledge the Anniversary of the National Apology to Australia's First Peoples but also provide a networking opportunity for QLS council members and executive leadership team members to engage in the next phase of the QLS RAP process by meeting the Elders and Traditional Owners of the Brisbane area. Forty attendees were able to hear firsthand, stories about the Stolen Generation from keynote speakers Uncle Bob Anderson and Dr Aunty Ruth Link. They were also able to delight in the bush food cuisine of the First Food Company.

To coincide with this event QLS officially unveiled its Acknowledgement of Country. The RAP artwork by artist Mitch Shannon’s painting, ‘Harmony’, beautifully accompanies the acknowledgment that now adorns the reception area windows on level 2.

photo QLS reception window


This year also saw the inaugural First Nations Award categories included in the QLS Legal Professional Awards dinner. A very impressive field of First Nations applicants were all up for the titles of Queensland First Nations Lawyer of Year and Queensland First Nations Legal Student of the Year. Taking out the honours were First Nations Lawyer of the Year Ms Leah Cameron, and First Nations Legal Student of the Year Ms Nareeta Davis. We are also very proud to announce that Mr Terrence Stedman a Kamilaroi man from the Tingha area of New South Wales, but who has been working in the Logan community of Brisbane for many years, took out two awards: Equity Advocate Award and Community Legal Centre (CLC) member of the Year. The winners are profiled in the March edition of Proctor.

 QLS RAP Working Group meeting - 8 August 2017 - post launch update

A massive congratulations to everyone across the organisation whose amazing efforts culminated in the development of the final product duly endorsed by Reconciliation Australia. It was the first meeting outside of the RAP launch on 5 July 2017. The group welcomed two new First Nations staff members tasked with executing the RAP and were able to report on the achievements to date. Some of the big ticket items that were reported on were the proposed lunch and learn sessions introducing the breadth and scope of the RAP to QLS staff. The resource will be used to disseminate to our member profession. Planning and staging were underway with offerings of state awards and internships as well as taking steps toward convening a First Nations Reconciliation and Advancement Committee, the first of its kind to be established within the Society. It is hoped that these opportunities will provide a platform for greater recognition and open up avenues for other opportunities. Some aesthetic changes have been made to the QLS homepage by way of providing a digital interface with a designated First Nations landing page. Lots of internal partnering and robust discussions have set a nice pace for phasing in of many more exciting initiatives to come. The next RAPWG will take place in November. Watch this space!

QLS RAP Working Group meeting update - 2 May 2017

Our RAP Working Group met and noted the positive feedback received by Reconciliation Australia’s in response to the Society’s draft inaugural RAP. The RAPWG then considered the settled draft RAP, which incorporated all the suggestions proposed by Reconciliation Australia, and recommended the settled draft RAP be presented to Council.

QLS RAP Working Group meeting update - 9 and 21 February 2017

The QLS Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group (‘RAPWG’) and the Reconciliation Action Plan Launch Sub-Committee held meetings on 9 and 21 February 2017 and recommended that the draft QLS Reconciliation Action Plan (‘RAP’) be submitted to Reconciliation Australia as a first draft for feedback and endorsement. Other matters considered include holding a joint stall at the NAIDOC week celebrations and the launch of the QLS RAP  on Wednesday 5 July from 4.30 to 7pm.

Draft RAP Consultation - November 2016 to 30 January 2017

Queensland Law Society is pleased to launch its public consultation of the draft inaugural QLS RAP. Developed by the RAP sub-committee, with feedback from the RAPWG and QLS Executive Leadership Team, the draft RAP utilises Reconciliation Australia’s template innovate plan as well as incorporating action items unique to the Queensland legal profession.

Have your voice heard by providing your feedback on the draft RAP through our survey accessible here. The survey closes COB Monday 30 January 2017. Your feedback will then be presented to the RAPWG and QLS for consideration, with the view to presenting the settled RAP to QLS Council and Reconciliation Australia for endorsement.

QLS RAP Working Group meeting update - 4 October 2016

Our QLS RAP Working Group met 4 October 2016 to discuss the first draft RAP, which was prepared by the RAPWG sub-committee who met on 14 September 2016 and 20 September 2016. 

In considering the first draft RAP, our RAP Working Group closely examined the terminology which most accurately and positively reflects our First Nations peoples. The RAP Working Group resolved that “First Nations” is widely used and appears to have global acceptance. The terminology also reflects the history as well as the different areas, culture and customs of our First Nations peoples. Our Working Group also carefully considered action items pertaining to advocacy and initiatives to support, recognise, encourage and foster our First Nations people and reconciliation in action.

The Working Group resolved to consult with the membership and key stakeholders on the first draft RAP, with consultation anticipated to commence in early November. More information on the consultation will be published shortly.

QLS RAP Working Group meeting update - 16 August 2016

QLS RAP Working Group met for a second time on 16 August 2016 after drawing together a draft proposal for the RAP’s vision as well as draft initiatives. Feedback from the draft vision was collated into a word cloud to lead discussions to facilitate settling QLS’s vision for reconciliation:

The Working Group discussed the best way forward to consider the effectiveness of established initiatives and has resolved to contact constituent law societies and key stakeholders to obtain feedback on their experiences. The Working Group also acknowledged the feedback received from the profession so far and, through the President, will be contacting the members personally to express their thanks.

The Working Group’s goal is to prepare a truly inclusive RAP that is representative of all voices of the profession. To that end, the Working Group continues to welcome your feedback on initiatives for our draft RAP. Please send your feedback to rap@qls.com.au by 12 September 2016.

The Working Group will reconvene to consider draft initiatives on 20 September 2016.

QLS RAP Working Group meeting update - 19 July 2016

QLS RAP Working Group had its first meeting on 19 July 2016 and as a first order of business considered what reconciliation means to us as individuals and as a community and what they hope to achieve through the RAP Working Group. The Working Group is busy brainstorming initiatives for the action plan and will meet again on 16 August 2016.