First Nations Action Plan
The Law Society’s First Nations Action Plan sets out a strategy to achieve a profession where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students, graduates and practitioners feel valued and respected. The Law Society promotes a community in which members understand and show respect for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through building relationships and laying the foundation for increased opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
First Nations Cultural Calendar
As a resource for the community and as part of the Society’s First Nations Action Plan a Cultural Calendar has been developed which celebrates key dates throughout the year of significance to our First Nations people. It can be downloaded here. The calendar is an evolving living document and we welcome suggestions from the community for other dates which could be listed in the calendar.
A 25+ year Indigenous youth leadership program working to strengthen relationships between Indigenous youth, their communities, the justice system and the Police. Nutha Way champions the voices of Indigenous young people across WA and asks about their ideas for helping resolve the big issues and facilitating change.
The Nutha Way program is an initiative of the Law Society of Western Australia, that is facilitated by Millennium Kids and Media on Mars. The program is sponsored by Lotterywest and the Department of Justice, through the Criminal Confiscation Grants Fund, and aims to improve relations and reduce negative incidents of interaction with the Justice system. Read more about the 2020 Nutha Way Annual Story.
Visit the website here: https://nuthaway.org.au/
Closing the Gap
The Closing the Gap strategy is a long term, Coalition of Australian Governments framework that builds on the foundation of respect and unity provided by the 2008 National Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. In 2008, the Coalition agreed to six ambitious targets to address the disadvantage faced by Indigenous Australians in life expectancy, child mortality, education and employment. Justice targets are yet to be formally included.
In February 2016 the Law Society resolved to commence a strategic campaign known as ‘Closing the Gap’ with an emphasis on the spiralling rates of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Western Australia. Currently the Law Society’s campaign is being advanced by the work of the Indigenous Legal Issues Committee, the Aboriginal Incarceration and Justice Reinvestment Working Group and the Law Society’s First Nations Action Plan Working Group.
First Nations policies
- Access to justice issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Western Australia (July 2020)
- Closing the gap (July 2020)
- Justice reinvestment (July 2020)
- Deaths in custody and incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (July 2020)
- Issues that contribute to the incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Western Australia (July 2020)
- Mandatory sentencing and how it contributes to the incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Western Australia (July 2020)
- Issues affecting incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (July 2019)
- Funding certainty to help Law Access meet pro bono demand (27 August 2021)
- NAIDOC Week – Heal Country! (1 July 2021)
- The Law Society Strongly Opposes Mandatory Sentencing (18 January 2021)
- The Law Society of Western Australia Welcomes Announcement that $6.2m Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy is Moving to Next Phase (15 July 2020)
- Joint Media Statement: The Law Society and Law Access Welcome Legal Funding Boost to Help WA’s Most Vulnerable and Disadvantaged (24 June 2020)
- The Law Society Welcomes Comprehensive Reform Package to WA’s Fine Enforcement Regime (17 June 2020)
- Law Society Welcomes Introduction of WA Pro Bono Model to Enhance Access to Justice (23 March 2020)
- New Federal Agreement Must Increase Legal Assistance Funding and Protect Indigenous Legal Assistance (1 November 2019)
- Customary Law (25 January 2019)
- Law Society’s Lore Law Project Awarded State Government Grant (24 January 2019)
- Joint statement: Law Council of Australia and Law Society of Western Australia regarding imprisonment for unpaid fines (8 January 2019)
Header Image: Study of “Wagyl of the Derbarl Yerrigan” (Serpent of the Swan River) by Marlia Miyalan Fatnowna (Acrylic on museum quality paper)
The Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) is an extremely significant area in Perth. This painting depicts an aerial view of the river which embodies the presence of the Wagyl (the Dreaming serpent). It is known in Noongar creation stories that the Wagyl made the rivers, swamps, lakes and waterholes. The cross hatching patterns (raak) is a painting style from Arnhem Land which is representative of the artists identity within the work. Green in the Derbarl Yerrigan depicts new beginnings like that of new life in our flora and fauna during Djilba (spring time) as is this RAP for the Law Society of WA.
** The artist acknowledges they are not of ancestry to Wadjuk Noongar country and people and has therefore respectfully used their own ancestral painting styles as to not appropriate Noongar culture. The Derbarl Yerrigan and Wagyl have been used to symbolise Wadjuk Noongar country in Western Australia and the significance they hold in being included in the Law Society of Western Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan.
About the Artist
“I have grown up all over Australia. My ancestral country is in Far North Queensland, Kooki-mini and Kooki-langi country between Laura and Cooktown and have family connections in North East Arnhem Land, Yolngu country. I am also of Scottish and Solomon Islander ancestry. Growing up I did my schooling and lived in Perth, Arnhem Land and on the mid north coast of New South Wales. Moving around was fantastic, it taught me a lot about myself and my identity. In Perth, I studied a bachelor of arts majoring in communications and media and literature, and then went on to teach in the Indigenous Ways of Knowing major at UWA. Art is in my blood, it is a way I can express how I feel about growing up in two completely different worlds as a young Aboriginal person of today. I also just love the aesthetics of painting. I like to bring together many different painting styles that I have learnt throughout my life, challenging notions of what it means to be an ‘Aboriginal artist’.”
**Reconciliation Action Plans are a step in acknowledging that everyone needs to make change in order to see change. Aboriginal people need to be acknowledged within every industry/area of society, especially in our legal systems in regard to fair and equal representation. I am honoured to be part of this project.