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Blog Posts (9)

  • Announcing AALA 2022:

    At the AALA National AGM on 30 November 2021, National Returning Officer Nai Yan Yeap declared the following candidates for the AALA National Executive Committee elected: National President: Molina Asthana National Vice-President: Matt Floro National Secretary: Position Vacant National Treasurer: Ivonne Muryadi National Executive Committee Ordinary Members (5 positions available): Alyssandria Lim Johnny Duc-Huy Nguyen Stephanie Tan William Zhou Position Vacant Accordingly, there is one casual vacancy for the position of National Secretary and one casual vacancy for the position of National Executive Committee Ordinary Member. These positions will be appointed by the National Executive Committee in due course. If you hold a current AALA membership and are interested in expressing your interest in the National Secretary and/or the National Executive Committee Ordinary Member position, please complete the Expression of Interest Form and e-mail it to secretary@aala.org.au by midnight AWST (Perth time) Friday 10 December 2021. Joining the above office bearers on the National Executive Committee are the following AALA Branch Presidents and Secretaries elected at Annual Branch Meetings in November: ACT Branch President: Eveline Kuang Secretary: Dominique Yap NSW Branch President: Marija Gurlica Secretary: Position Vacant (please register for the SBM to nominate). NT Branch President: Lyma Nguyen Secretary: Jacinta Mu QLD Branch President: Dominic Nguyen Secretary: Vernon Ting SA Branch President: Jessica Teoh Secretary: Position Vacant (please contact sa@aala.org.au if you are interested in nominating) TAS Branch President: Tiffany Tang Secretary: Justin Heng VIC Branch President: Kelvin Ng Secretary: Jenny Si WA Branch President: Belinda Wong Secretary: Julie Moore AALA congratulates all newly elected office bearers on our National Executive Committee and State and Territory Branch Committees.

  • Why Diversity?

    Linda Cho, AALA Queensland Branch Committee Member Dzenita Ballic, Victor Asoyo, Kristen Hodge, Sheetal Deo and Ashleigh DoRozario spoke candidly at the Banco Court about their personal journeys of entering the legal profession and how they managed to continue working in the profession, despite encountering significant challenges. They bravely shared their vision for the future of the legal profession. Each story shared was about overcoming adversity and a collective hope for our profession to acknowledge and celebrate diversity and inclusion. We were told we can start by ‘calling people in’ so we can better understand our differences, and that instead of just ticking boxes, we should truly appreciate the different lived experiences of each individual, and encourage seeing the strength that comes from these diverse experiences. Court of Appeal President Walter Sofronoff led the forum by sharing with the audience his Russian heritage, his upbringing in Hong Kong where his family were refugees and later his life in Australia. Panellists pictured (from left): Victor Asoyo, Kristen Hodge, President Sofronoff (moderator), Sheetal Deo and Ashleigh DoRozario. Photo: Jonas Chng. Dzenita gave us a glimpse into what it was like to come to Australia as a refugee from a war-torn country, as a teenager who knew no English, and how that led her to become a senior Crown Prosecutor at the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions). Ashleigh shared how she navigated continuing to work in the legal profession whilst being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition causing her to become legally blind. Kristen, a Wiradjuri woman, shared her experiences of working tirelessly for First Nations people through native title and cultural heritage law, and fighting back systematic prejudices. Sheetal, a Canadian-born migrant woman within the LGBTIQA+ community, spoke passionately about actively working in the inclusion space. Finally, Victor reflected on how he came to Australia as the first in his family to attend university, how he worked in property law and banking, and became a partner of his own firm. When answering questions, it became clear that, as lawyers who have different lived experiences to those who traditionally have made up the majority of the profession, we sometimes don’t realise the lengths we go to so we can ‘fit in’ to the stereotypical mould. This night left the audience reflecting on the past, provided insight into the present and gave us hope for the future. Many people who may have felt as though they were not ‘the majority’ within our profession, felt heard and understood. Not only did the storytelling by the panellists allow the audience to briefly experience being ‘in their shoes’, it reinforced to the diverse members of our profession that we belong in this community. President Shearer, in her welcoming address, said: “The diverse groups among us do not belong in the margins, but in the centre.” Her encouraging speech reinforced that there is change happening within our profession. This change may not be drastic, but I believe the interest in the event was a true reflection of the profession’s longing for a more diverse and inclusive profession. It is hoped that this will not be last time we speak about these central issues and that this event continues to spark conversations among peers about the importance of diversity within our legal profession. The event was organised as a first-time collaboration between the Asian Australian Lawyers Association, Indigenous Lawyers Association, Women’s Lawyers Association Queensland, Pasifika Lawyers Association of Queensland, African Lawyers Network, Pride in Law and the QLS Diverse Abilities Network. We thank our sponsors, Robertson O’Gorman, the Bar Association of Queensland, Hemmant’s List and Queensland Law Society for assisting in bringing this event together.

  • Judicial Diversity: it starts with us

    In October 2021, the Queensland Branch hosted a panel to discuss judicial diversity. The panel included Justice Walter Sofronoff, president of the Queensland Court of Appeal; The Honourable Roslyn Atkinson, retired Supreme Court judge; and Judge Nathan Jarro of the District Court, the first indigenous judge appointed to the District Court. Lawyers Weekly has published a piece reviewing the event with key takeaways, view here. To contact the Queensland Branch, visit our website.

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  • Asian Australian Lawyers Association | Diversity in Law | AALA | Australia

    LEARN MORE NATIONAL APPROACH | LOCAL ENGAGEMENT GENERATIONAL IMPACT The Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) is the first incorporated association in Australia to focus on the growing number of Asian Australian lawyers in the profession. ​ AALA is a national, non-for-profit organisation with Branches in seven states/territories, welcoming Members from all walks of legal life including students, lawyers and principals from small, medium and large firms, barristers, in-house and government lawyers. Since its establishment, AALA has become a leading voice for cultural diversity in the legal profession, working with peak bodies and organisations to promote intersectional diversity in the law and equitable access to the law. JOIN AALA ABOUT AALA Learn more about our AALA, including our Founding Objectives, history, patrons and governing documents & reports. READ MORE LEADERSHIP We are a national organisation with operating branches across Australia. View our current branches and meet our branch members. READ MORE MEMBERSHIP Unlock a national support network with one membership! Learn more about our membership options. READ MORE LATEST NEWS Read about the latest AALA News from our branches, and access past articles via the AALA archive. READ MORE AALA EVENTS We host many different event types, from panel discussions to social catchups. View our upcoming events. READ MORE NATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES We offer a range of programs & national opportunities available for AALA members. READ MORE UPCOMING EVENTS Join up as a member today and gain access to regular events, including career workshops, cocktail evenings, panel sessions and more! VIEW EVENTS OUR NATIONAL SPONSOR Baker McKenzie is an international law firm with 77 offices across 46 countries. As the first truly global law firm, our origins are rooted in the respect for and appreciation of difference. Our own diversity mirrors our commitment to exploring multiple perspectives to develop the best possible solutions for our clients and to fostering a culture of respect and inclusion that celebrates diversity. Inclusion & diversity (I&D) are in our DNA. ​ AALA has enjoyed the generous support it has received from Baker McKenzie over the years and appreciates the genuine passion, support and collaboration.

  • Patrons | Asian Australian Lawyers Association | Diversity in Law | AALA | Australia

    OUR PATRONS AALA NATIONAL PATRON HON DIANA BRYANT AO QC AALA is very pleased to have the Hon Diana Bryant AO QC as our National Patron. Ms Bryant brings to this role an esteemed service to the Australian judiciary and Australian public life. From 2000 to 2004, Ms Bryant was the inaugural Chief Federal Magistrate of Australia, the head of the Federal Magistrates’ Court. From 2004 to 2017, she then served as the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, while also acting as Patron of the Women Lawyers Association from 2009 until her retirement as Chief Justice. She has supported and contributed to the development of family law systems in Singapore and Indonesia. She is the current President of the Graduate Union of the University of Melbourne. In 2012, she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to the judiciary and to the law, particularly to family law policy reform and practice, through the establishment of the Federal Magistrates Court, and to the advancement of women in the legal profession”. Diana Bryant’s credentials and abilities will significantly assist AALA as it continues to broaden its benefits to members, build its legal policy and advocacy capabilities and contribute to advancing cultural diversity in the law. AALA EMERITUS PATRON HON MICHAEL KIRBY AC CMG AALA NATIONAL PATRON: 2013 - 2021 EMERITUS PATRON: 2021 - CURRENT AALA are pleased to have the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, who served as AALA’s National Patron from 2013 to 2021, as our Emeritus Patron. Michael Kirby is an international jurist, educator and former judge. He was a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1996 to 2009. Mr Kirby’s presence at many of our formal events and member gatherings, and as our inaugural National Patron has inspired and energised our activities since AALA was founded in Victoria in 2013. AALA now has seven State and Territory Branches across Australia and plans to open a branch in the Northern Territory in 2021. AALA INTERNATIONAL PATRON THE RT. HON LORD JUSTICE RABINDER SINGH Sir Rabinder Singh brings to this role a wealth of judicial experiences, and unequivocal support to promote the diversity value enshrined in our organisation.He currently sits as a Lord Justice of Appeal in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the President of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and a member of the Privy Council appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. ​ He was born in 1964 in Delhi to a Sikh family who came to the UK and settled in a working-class area of Bristol. He graduated with a double first at Cambridge University and obtained an LLM at UC Berkeley. He co-founded Matrix Chambers and was appointed silk in 2002. ​ Sir Rabinder Singh reached one of the highest ranks achieved by a non-white judge in Britain, and was thought to be the youngest judge to sit in the High Court. ​ The official Press Release can be read here. NEW SOUTH WALES STATE PATRON MS KATRINA RATHIE In July 2021, the NSW Branch proudly announced and warmly welcomed Ms Katrina Rathie as the inaugural NSW Patron. Ms Rathie is an Australian with a Chinese cultural background, her family originating from Guangzhou Province in Southern China. Katrina brings to this role distinguished service to the Australian legal profession, extensive cross-border leadership and cultural skills honed through an esteemed 36-year career spanning Australia, Asia and the USA. Katrina is a pre-eminent lawyer, well-known business leader and non-executive director who is proud to be a role model and champion for Asian Australians. She was named the overall winner in the prestigious Board & Management category in the 2019 AFR 100 Women of Influence list, recognised for her outstanding contributions to leadership in the law, advancement of gender and cultural diversity across Australia and Asia. ​ Katrina is excited to be named as NSW Patron of AALA and looks forward to continuing to advocate for greater diversity and inclusion in business, boards and throughout the legal profession. Her wisdom and lived experience will be valued by AALA members. The official Press Release can be read here. VICTORIAN STATE PATRON HON GARETH EVANS AC QC Professor Evans is Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Australian National University, where he was Chancellor from 2010 to 2019, and President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group, the Brussels‐based independent global conflict prevention and resolution organisation which he led as President and CEO from 2000 to 2009. During his 21 years in Australian politics, from 1978 to 1999, he was a Cabinet Minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor Governments in the posts of Attorney General, Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Transport and Communications and Foreign Minister, and both Leader of the Government in the Senate and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives. He has written or edited thirteen books and published around 150 journal articles, chapters, and reports, and many more opinion articles, on foreign relations, human rights and legal and constitutional reform; has honorary doctorates from Melbourne, Sydney, Carleton and Queen's Universities; and has lectured at many universities around the world. He has co‐chaired two major International Commissions, on Intervention and State Sovereignty, and Nuclear Non‐Proliferation and Disarmament, and has been a member of a number of others. He currently chairs the International Advisory Board of the New‐York based Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, the Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non‐Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN) and the Advisory Board of the ANU Centre for Asian‐Australian Leadership. Gareth Evans was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2012 for his "eminent service to international relations, particularly in the Asia‐Pacific region, as an adviser to governments on global policy matters, to conflict prevention and resolution, and to arms control and disarmament", and in the same year was elected an honorary Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia (FASSA). In 2016 he was awarded by the Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop Asialink Medal "for long‐term commitment to improving Australia‐Asia relations". In December 2015 he was made a Companion of the Order of O.R. Tambo by South African for his contributions to the anti‐apartheid movement. Foreign Policy magazine cited him as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers for 2011 "for making 'the responsibility to protect' more than academic". In 2010 he was awarded the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Four Freedoms Award for Freedom from Fear, for his pioneering work on the Responsibility to Protect concept and his contributions to conflict prevention and resolution, arms control and disarmament. ​ The official Press Release can be read here. WESTERN AUSTRALIAN STATE PATRON HON ROBERT FRENCH AC The Hon Robert French AC served as Chief Justice of Australia from 1 September 2008 until 29 January 2017. He is a graduate of the University of Western Australia in science and law. He served as a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia from November 1986 until his appointment as Chief Justice of the High Court on 1 September 2008. From 1994 to 1998 he was the President of the National Native Title Tribunal. ​ Since his retirement as Chief Justice, Mr French has been appointed as a Non-Permanent Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (May 2017), as an International Judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court (January 2018) and as a Judge of the Court of Appeal of the Dubai International Financial Centre (June 2019). ​ He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia and Monash University, a Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Australian National University and an Honorary Professorial Fellow at Melbourne University Law School. He was elected as Chancellor of the University of Western Australia in December 2017. ​ The announcement can be read here. QUEENSLAND STATE PATRON DEPUTY CHIEF MAGISTRATE ANTHONY GETT Deputy Chief Magistrate Gett was appointed a Magistrate in January 2013 and then appointed as Deputy Chief Magistrate in March 2021. Prior to his appointment as a Magistrate, his Honour was called to the bar in 2001. Since 2004 he has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian-based International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law. In 2006, his Honour was awarded that society’s John Kable QC award for Young Lawyer of the Year and in 2019 he was awarded the society’s Presidential Medal. Prior to becoming a Magistrate, his Honour spent thirteen years at the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions as a prosecutor, where he appeared as counsel in various matters in all courts from the High Court of Australia to the Magistrates Court of Queensland. As a prosecutor he was a member of the Interpol Experts Group for Online Child Sexual Offences and a lecturer at the Management of Serious and Organised Crime Program. His Honour has presented papers at numerous international and domestic conferences, including as a keynote speaker to Council of the European Union where he presented on Australia’s online child exploitation laws. Deputy Chief Magistrate Gett is currently based in the Brisbane Magistrates Court after initially serving in far North Queensland. In 2014 and 2015 his Honour travelled to Indonesia as part of a judicial assistance program with the Indonesian judiciary. In April 2021, he was appointed an Acting Judge of the Local Court of the Northern Territory. He belongs to a number of judicial committees, including the national Cultural Diversity Justice Network. INSPIRED? JOIN AS A MEMBER TODAY!

  • William Ah Ket Papers | Asian Australian Lawyers Association | Diversity in Law | AALA | Australia

    PAST PAPERS & PUBLICATIONS WILLIAM AH KET SCHOLARSHIP PAPERS WINNING PAPERS ​ 2021 Winning Paper – 'Unconscious Biases and Uncomfortable Truths: Reassessing Institutional Values and Professionalism in the Law' by Sarah Webster ​ 2019 Winning Paper – 'Being the change: Towards diversity intelligence in the Australian legal profession' by Tienyi Long ​ 2018 Winning Paper – ‘ What does parity in cultural diversity look like? ’ by Ming Kalanon and Kelvin Ng ​ 2017 Winning Paper - ‘Affirmative Action in Piercing the Bamboo Ceiling within the Australian Legal Profession’ by Thomas K Abraham ​ ​ RUNNERS UP PAPERS ​ 2021 Runners Up Papers – ‘Movement Lawyering in Australia: ensuring the whole truth is told’ by Sandra Hu and ‘ The Cost of a Silenced Perspective: Why Judicial Diversity Matters’ by Kevin Nguyen ​ 2019 Runners Up Papers – 'Delivering gender equality at the top (one baby step at a time)' by Sandra Hu and 'Stuck at the intersection: Anti-discrimination law and intersectionality in Australia' by Amy Pereira ​ 2018 Runners Up Papers – ‘Managing our unconscious biases to deliver equal opportunity under the law - it starts with pink and blue’ by Chuan Jun Yeap and ‘The lack of cultural diversity in Australian business leadership: Lessons from AMP and the consequences for corporate governance and business performance ’ by Gisela Nip TESTIMONIALS Testimonial by Tienyi Long: ​ "In my essay, I wrote that the best lawyers are empathetic, open-minded, and committed to consistently learning and growing as part of a diverse and complex society: in short, diversity intelligence is as important to being a successful lawyer as technical skill. My essay became the basis for further advocacy, including to update continuing professional development requirements in the legal profession. ​ At a time where the world seems divided and institutions continue to grapple with systemic discrimination the William Ah Ket Scholarship is an opportunity to contribute to sorely needed discussion on equality, diversity and the law. I strongly encourage emerging lawyers to make a submission: your voice matters, and it will make a difference." ​ Testimonial by Kelvin Ng and Ming Kalanon: ​ “Our essay aimed to explore the concepts of race, culture and ethnicity, and ultimately, “What does parity in cultural diversity look like?”. In writing our essay, we drew inspiration from the legacy of William Ah Ket himself and his remarkable, trailblazing career, forged in the face of adversity. We feel incredibly privileged to have been afforded a platform to contribute to the literature and discourse about cultural diversity, and are confident that William Ah Ket’s story will continue to inspire future generations to aspire towards parity – whatever that means.” ​ Testimonial by Thomas Abraham: ​ "Winning the inaugural William Ah Ket Scholarship brings me great pride and satisfaction, owing to the scholarship’s underlying purpose of fostering the development and promotion of cultural diversity in the Australian legal profession. As with other aspects of diversity, a crucial facet of achieving cultural diversity stems from the creation of awareness of the issue(s). The scholarship is a wonderful platform to raise such awareness by bringing to light systemic factors impeding the attainment of cultural diversity within the profession. I am certain the continuity of this scholarship will of itself be precedential in improving cultural diversity within the profession." ARTICLES Andrew Godwin , ‘ Chinese legal pioneers’ China Business Law Journal (21 February 2020) ​ Andrew Godwin , Commemorating William Ah Ket’ China Business Law Journal (22 February 2021) ​ Andrew Godwin , ‘ Commemorating William Ah Ket – a life of diversity and service’ Victorian Bar News (Issue 168 Summer 2020/21) NEWSPAPER ARTICLES & RADIO Jane Lee , ‘William Ah Ket: the first Chinese-Australian barrister’ , The History Listen ABC Radio National (28 August 2018) ​ Jane Lee , ‘The first Chinese-Australian barrister ’ The Law Report ABC Radio National (28 August 2018) ​ Jane Lee , ‘The story of William Ah Ket, the first Chinese-Australian barrister ’ The History Listen ABC Radio National (30 August 2018) Joseph Lam , ‘A landmark legacy’ South China Morning Post (20 August 2020) ​ Leah Anderson-Byrne , ‘Celebrating the life of our early legal pioneer – William Ah Ket: from Wangaratta to the High Court’ Wangaratta Chronicle (17 July 2020) ​ Leah Anderson-Byrne , ‘Locals contribute to research – More history shared on early legal pioneer William Ah Ket, who was born in Wangaratta’ Wangaratta Chronicle (19 August 2020) SPEECHES The Hon Susan Kiefel AC Chief Justice of Australia , 'William Ah Ket’s contribution to diversity in the legal profession' William Ah Ket Scholarship Presentation, Asian Australian Lawyers Association, Great Hall, High Court of Australia, 9 October 2019 ​ The Hon Anne Ferguson Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria , 'Launch of William Ah Ket Scholarship 2021 Keynote Address' , 2 June 2021

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