Message from the President
At its meeting of 8 December 2017, the Bar Council resolved to establish a Committee to deal with indigenous affairs. After consultation with Tony McAvoy SC and Chris Ronalds SC, the Bar Council agreed to name the new Committee the First Nations Committee. The name of the Committee reflects an appreciation that while Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders across New South Wales and Australia have very much in common, including a shared colonial experience, they are also culturally, linguistically and politically diverse. The new Committee’s Charter is as follows:
- To represent the NSW Bar Association and its members on legal policy and practice issues relating to First Nations and First Nations people including:
a) reviewing policies and procedures for the Bar Council and NSW Bar Association to ensure First Nations and First Nations peoples’ perspective are considered where relevant; b) advocating for the rights of First Nations and First Nations people on systemic issues of policy such as Indigenous incarceration, discrimination and the impact of domestic violence on First Nations communities.
- To encourage and support First Nations people to consider a career in the law and at the Bar;
- To support First Nations people who are members of the profession;
- To organise educational seminars for members regarding issues relating to First Nations affairs;
- To develop and monitor the implementation of the Association’s Reconciliation Action Plan; and
- To provide advice to Bar Council on matters relating to First Nations affairs as required.
The new Committee will be chaired by Tony McAvoy SC.
A sub-group of this Committee will be chaired by Chris Ronalds SC and will continue the extensive work of the Indigenous Barristers Strategy Working Party. The existing New South Wales Joint Working Party on Indigenous Incarceration will also operate as a sub-committee of the First Nations Committee.
I thank Chris Ronalds SC for the extensive work she has undertaken as Chair of the Indigenous Barristers Strategy Working Party as well as Phil Boulton SC and Dr Sarah Pritchard SC for their work as co-Chairs of the Joint Working Party on Indigenous Incarceration.
Members will be kept informed of developments regarding the work of the Committee.