Aurora Intern brings Indigenous perspective to the ALRC

ALRC Aurora Intern Sharna WillieIn January 2021 Aurora Intern Sharna Willie, a Nunukul and Barada Kabalbara woman, joined the ALRC for a six week placement.

Sharna is currently studying a Bachelor of Social Science at Griffith University, Gold Coast campus, majoring in Social Justice and Environmental Sustainability. Having completed the first year of her tertiary education, Sharna viewed the summer break as a perfect opportunity to pursue some real-life experience in one of her areas of passion – social justice – successfully applying for, and receiving, an intern placement with the ALRC.

The Aurora Internship at the ALRC provides students with an opportunity to contribute to current inquiries, as well as to explore past inquiries, most of which have instigated debate and resulted in substantial reform of Australian laws. In her time with the Commission, Sharna will contribute to the Judicial Impartiality Inquiry. So far, in her first couple of weeks, Sharna has produced briefing papers for meetings as part of the consultative process of the Inquiry. Additionally, she has conducted research into previous submissions from completed ALRC inquiries, identifying comments on Judicial Impartiality. Sharna has also conducted research on Australian academic material relating to unconscious bias in the courts.

Sharna has appreciated the opportunity to test out her research and communication skills in a supportive team environment.

“I have also been involved in face-to-face consultations with numerous academics, judges, and stakeholders. I have enjoyed these experiences particularly, and hope to bring a fresh set of eyes to the Inquiry with any knowledge I can bring, particularly from an Indigenous perspective,” she said.

Upon completion of her degree, Sharna hopes to use her expertise and skills to advocate for positive change, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

L-R: The Hon Justice Sarah Derrington, Sharna Willie and Sarah Fulton

ALRC President Justice Sarah Derrington has been delighted to welcome Sharna to the Commission.

“Sharna’s contributions to the Judicial Impartiality Inquiry have assisted the team tremendously. Her thirst for knowledge and understanding of the justice system have been complemented by her problem-solving attitude, preparing Sharna well for her future career,” Justice Derrington said.

The Aurora Internship provides participating students with an opportunity to learn and contribute to the law reform process in Australia. The ALRC is pleased to once again provide this opportunity in 2021.

Further information about the Aurora Intern Program.