Lawyer and Chief Executive Officer, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance
Sandra is a proud Waanyi/Kalkadoon Indigenous woman, CEO of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Alliance (NATSIWA), Lawyer and Adjunct Professor in Public Health at the University of Queensland.
She was awarded a Member of the Order Of Australia (AM) award on the Queen’s Birthday 2019 by the Attorney-General of Australia for her work with Indigenous women and peoples. Sandra is an advisor for the Seventh Generation Board Fund based in California, on the Board of the International Indigenous Women's Forum based in New York/Guatemala and on the Advisory team for the Queensland Human Rights Commissioner.
Her role in NATSIWA as the CEO is to advocate and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women through empowerment of their human rights, voices and self-determination which has been done through face-to-face workshops, submissions, factsheets and webinars. Her role with the International Indigenous Women's Forum also involves supporting Indigenous women around the world to attend an online Global Leadership School which strengthens their knowledge about international instruments and articulation through the development and execution of advocacy strategies.
Sandra advocates on human rights for Indigenous women and peoples and has been involved with the international arena for many years – and in particular working with Indigenous women globally. Sandra has attended the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous peoples and was the co-chair twice for the Global Indigenous Women's Caucus.
Lawyer – Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Potts Lawyers
Ashleigh is a litigation lawyer at Potts Lawyers. She practices insurance and compensation law, human rights advocacy, and dispute resolution matters often involving a niche crossover into aspects of criminal and disciplinary law.
Ashleigh is also legally blind due to a rare autoimmune condition. Following her admission as a solicitor, she created the social media persona ‘Blind Lady Justice’ to publicly reveal her vision impairment and positively promote disability. Ashleigh champions equal opportunity, acceptance and inclusion for people with disability within the legal profession and wider community.
She has previously been recognised as MS Queensland’s Young Person of the Year, and one of the 60 Most Influential People in MS Queensland’s 60 Year History. She is a founding member of the Queensland Law Society Diverse Abilities Network, as well as a member of the Queensland Law Society Equity and Diversity Committee.
Principal, Resolve Estate Law
Zinta is the owner of Resolve Estate Law, a Brisbane-based boutique law firm specialising in contested estates and complex estate administrations. She is the only dual-accredited specialist in succession law and business law in Queensland, and the only specialist of this kind in Australia who is also a nationally accredited mediator and an accredited collaborative practitioner.
Over the last 25 years in practice, Zinta has helped steer dozens of complex and bitter estate battles to resolution without going to court. But in many cases, settlements were reached at a late stage in the process when the damage had already been done, financially and relationally. It was not until recently, when Zinta first learned of the collaborative practice dispute resolution model, that she considered approaching the resolution of contested estate matters differently. This integrated, team based dispute resolution model has been used successfully in family law divorce contexts in Australia for over a decade but has only recently been used in other contexts, including contested estates, in the United States and the United Kingdom. Taking this approach Zinta has observed that when a holistic approach is taken, involving communication coaches and neutral financial advisers, estate disputes resolve more quickly, ensuring that the inheritance is not gouged by huge legal costs incurred in lengthy and hostile legal proceedings. Surrounding clients with a professional support team to guide them through their dispute over inheritance and taking the time to address the underlying issues that often drive inheritance disputes early (which are often human issues not legal issues), families are able to reach a mutually beneficial compromise without the aggression and emotional toll of traditional court pathways.
The benefits of working in a team based resolution model aren’t just for clients and their families, but it is also “law-life changing” for the professionals involved because the framework allows lawyers to operate collaboratively as positive problem solvers rather than aggressively as adversaries.
Zinta is the author of “Rest in Peace – how to manage an estate dispute without inheriting heartache” an award winning book written for those facing and actual or anticipated fight over inheritance. She also runs Collaborative Practice training for wills and estates professionals nationally looking for a better way to resolve family conflict over an estate. Zinta was recognised as the WLAQ Trailblazer of the Year and Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards Sole Practitioner of the Year in 2019 for her work in this area.
Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM
Lawyer and Resident Medical Officer, Gold Coast University Hospital
Dinesh was the first quadriplegic medical intern in Queensland, and the second person to graduate medical school with quadriplegia in Australia. He earned a Bachelor of Laws, prior to completing his Doctor of Medicine at Griffith University. He completed an Advanced Clerkship in Radiology at Harvard University.
As a result of his injury and experiences, Dinesh has been an advocate for inclusivity in medicine and the workplace generally. He is a founding member of Doctors with Disabilities Australia.
Dinesh is currently a resident medical officer at the Gold Coast University Hospital. He is a lecturer at Griffith University and adjunct research fellow at the Menzies Health Institute of Queensland. He has research interests in spinal cord injury.
He is the Gold Coast University Hospital’s representative in the Australian Medical Association Queensland’s Council of Doctors in Training. He is a doctor for the Gold Coast Titans physical disability rugby team.
Dinesh was the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service’s Junior Doctor of the Year in 2018. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2019. He was the third Australian to be awarded a Henry Viscardi Achievement Award. Dinesh was the Queensland Australian of the Year for 2021.