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Statement: A milestone for diversity, but much more work needed

3 June 2022


The Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) congratulates Lincoln Crowley QC, who will join the Queensland Supreme Court bench as the nation’s first Indigenous Supreme Court judge. This inspirational news coincides with the spirit of the National Reconciliation Week 2022, as the appointment appreciates the diversity of the Australian community and AALA’s vision that lawyers of all backgrounds be truly represented within the legal profession.

AALA encourages legal practitioners and law students to learn from Justice Crowley’s story. As a Warramunga man who grew up in Charters Towers, Justice Crowley experienced challenges throughout his life due to discriminatory stereotypes from his Aboriginal identity.

However, Justice Crowley defied all odds. As his Honour said, “Just because I have an Aboriginal background doesn’t mean I am only able to apply my skills in particular fields. You’re challenging that stereotype about what people think you’re capable of doing. It’s also, hopefully, providing aspiration to other people who want to come.


Justice Crowley’s success is a milestone for achieving diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. The Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the appointment was historic and she expected many more such appointments in the future.


Meanwhile, AALA reiterates that Australia still significantly falls behind the rest of the world with the number of Asian Australians in its Federal Parliament falling below the 15% of Asian Australians in its population. Moreover, there is a dearth of Asian Australians represented in our judiciary.


Our National President calls for "Australian legal, political, business, and media leaders to increase their recognition of the contributions of culturally diverse lawyers, particularly in leadership positions and to appoint them to suitable positions in the judiciary.” She adds that “As the slogan of the National Reconciliation Week 2022 says, ‘Be Brave. Make Change.’ With AALA’s ongoing effort to promoting diversity, hopefully, we will see more structural changes to support diversity and inclusion initiatives within the Australian legal profession.”


What AALA is Doing to Advocate for Change


AALA has been dedicated to promoting cultural diversity since 2013 and is currently undertaking multiple projects including a National Diversity Report to highlight the issues of cultural diversity in the Australian legal profession.


By drawing attention to the lack of cultural representation in the Australian judiciary, AALA hopes to advocate for a change resulting in a judiciary that truly reflects Australia and therefore serves our diverse population better.


Sources

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/nation-s-first-indigenous-supreme-court-judge-defies-the-naysayers-20220527-p5ap1t.html

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/may/27/lincoln-crowley-appointed-australias-first-indigenous-supreme-court-justice

https://www.aala.org.au/post/media-release-diversity-in-the-federal-parliament

https://www.lawincolour.com/interviews/molina-asthana




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