August’s President’s Report – Reconciliation Action Plan
Recognition and Reconciliation NAIDOC Week was celebrated in early July. NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920s that sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.
During NAIDOC Week I was proud to represent the Society and WA legal profession at the launch of ‘Western Australians for Recognition’, which is part of building a coalition of corporate and community leaders in WA who support constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Law Society has expressed its support for the recognition of Aboriginal people in the Australian and Western Australian constitutions. I was very pleased to see not only that the national firm Allens was one of the key supporters but that lawyers from across the WA profession, from firms, not-for-profits and government, were in attendance to show their support. While progress is being made at a state level, there is a long road ahead nationally with many issues to still be resolved. We look forward to the legal profession being involved in assisting in finding solutions in support of recognition and reconciliation.
In a similar vein, in late July I was very proud to be able to launch the Law Society’s Reconciliation Action Plan, Reflect. This was the culmination of many years work, involving our Aboriginal Lawyers Committee, past and present Councillors, and others on our working group. The Reflect RAP outlines the actions the Society will undertake to achieve its vision of:
- a profession where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students, graduates and practitioners feel valued and respected; and
- 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.