First Nations People
Our vision | Our focus areas | QLS RAP | Our stories | Resources | QLS RAP Working Group | RAP Launch | First Nations Protocols | LawLink | Reconciliation and RAPs 101
We acknowledge the First Nations peoples as the original inhabitants of Australia. We recognise, respect and celebrate the cultural distinctions of First Nations peoples and value their rich and positive contribution to not only Queensland but also to the broader Australian society.
Our broad vision for reconciliation
Our vision for reconciliation is one that celebrates unity, recognises the talent, skill and diversity of all solicitors and results in strong representation of our First Nations peoples in all realms of legal practice.
It is our vision to:
- service the Queensland legal profession and community, in particular regional, remote, and rural areas as well as discrete First Nations communities;
- recognise the need for Queensland legal professionals to understand the impact that the law has and continues to have on the First Nations community of Queensland and that it is our duty to advocate for access to justice for First Nations people in all areas of legal practice;
- lead the profession to encourage, support and foster First Nations participation in the legal profession; and
- promote the importance of First Nations customary law.
Our focus areas
QLS recognises the importance of developing meaningful and respectful relationships with First Nations peoples. We look forward to working together to ensure a strong and positive shared future focused on developing relationships, mutual respect and increased opportunities for an inclusive legal profession with adequate cultural representation.
QLS acknowledges and respects Australia’s First Peoples, their unique cultures, languages, countries and their rich history. We recognise our shared history and the remarkable contributions of Australia’s First Peoples and we look forward to working together toward a strong and positive shared future focused on developing relationships, mutual respect and increased opportunities.
QLS is committed to supporting, promoting and improving access for Queensland First Nations law students, lawyers and other professionals to undertake pathways in the law. As the profession’s trusted adviser, QLS is committed to providing employment and professional development opportunities in recognition of the invaluable contribution and enrichment that First Nations people bring to the legal profession. As the peak organisation for solicitors in Queensland, QLS is also committed to encouraging lawyers and law firms to engage in reconciliation activities and events.
QLS Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)
A Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a framework that sets out practical plans of action for an organisation to realise its vision for reconciliation, creating social change and building on relationships and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Read our initiatives here.
Sharing our stories
“Through this inaugural RAP, QLS commences its journey to lead, influence and shape the development of cultural capability of the legal profession and system in Queensland. An extremely important journey in the context of the legal processes and outcomes that continue to result in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people disadvantage by extreme overrepresentation and underrepresentation across the full breadth and depth of the legal profession and system. The RAP will enable and support the people that lead, influence and shape the legal profession and system to begin and sustain the important work of transformational system change by embedding the core principles of cultural safety, responsivity and competency. In years to come we will look back at this point in time and be able to tangibly evidence the positive impact resulting from the commencement of this very important journey”.
Ruth Link, (2017) Lawyer, Manager, Portfolio & Program Management Advisory & Indigenous Sector Practice, Ernst & Young, Brisbane
"Reconciliation to me is about building honest, informed and respectful relationships, challenging our own perspectives, appreciating each other for our different experiences, and sharing the best we each have to offer so that we all may prosper."
Linda Ryle, (2017) Deputy Chair RAPWG, Lawyer and President of the Indigenous Lawyers Association of Queensland, Brisbane
Reconciliation is about recognition, healing and improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s lives. RAPs are not just policy documents they must create meaningful outcomes on the ground particularly in regional areas.”
Leah Cameron, (2017) Principal/owner, Marrawah Law, Cairns
“Reconciliation is very important to me. As a First Nations lawyer, I am concerned with the overrepresentation of First Nations people in our justice system and the under representation of First Nations people in our legal profession. My vision for reconciliation is to see more First Nations people within all aspects of the legal profession and in particular more representation in commercial law.”
Jayde Geia, (2017) Legal Counsel at the Queensland Investment Corporation, Brisbane
“Reconciliation is acknowledging Australia’s true history, the past injustices, and its ongoing impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in contemporary society. With this acknowledgment the future of Australia can be shaped through respect and understanding. It is an individual’s process of self-reflection of what they can do to create an Australian society that values the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples while appreciating our unique cultural differences respectfully.”
Bianca Hill, (2017) Indigenous Project Officer, QUT, Brisbane
“I am passionate about reconciliation and the acknowledgement and respect for the contribution of our First Nations peoples to our nation. My vision for this RAP is to promote access to justice, address the overrepresentation of our people as both victims and offenders within the different facets of the legal system, and to increase opportunities and support given to our First Nations people in the legal profession and those wanting to enter it.”
Candice Hughes, (2017) Law Clerk at Bayside Community Legal Service
“I am passionate about culture and languages and see reconciliation as a coming together of all peoples. I am eager to be involved and play a small part to effect positive change for the Queensland legal profession and wider community.”
Louise Pennisi, (2017) Acting Corporate Secretary/Governance Executive and Policy Solicitor QLS, Brisbane