On 28 October 2020 the Law Council of Australia hosted an online webinar, “Closing the Justice Gap: Implementing the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Pathways to Justice Roadmap”, which involved a panel discussion featuring eminent advocates and academics, Dr Hannah McGlade, Ms Cheryl Axleby, Dr Tracey McIntosh and Mr Tony McAvoy SC. Law Council President, Pauline Wright, moderated the discussion.
In this webinar, legal and policy experts discussed the report’s recommendations, priorities for implementation, and whether we already have a roadmap to meet the justice targets in the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
Dr Hannah McGlade, Associate Professor at the Curtin University School of Law
Dr Hannah McGlade is a Noongar woman, and lawyer and academic from Western Australia. She is an Associate Professor at the Curtin University Law School, a member of the Medical Board of Australia and an expert member of the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues. Dr McGlade has researched and published widely, served on many tribunals, boards and committees, led the development of legal support services and initiated many legal cases to improve recognition of rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Her work in Aboriginal human rights includes race discrimination, self-determination, state violence, prisoner’s rights, women and children’s issues, health justice and cultural safety. Dr McGlade was on the ALRC’s Pathways to Justice Advisory Committee.
Ms Cheryl Axleby, Co-Chair of Change the Record
Cheryl Axleby is a proud Narungga woman with family ties across South Australia (SA). Since 2012, She has held the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Incorporated, and she is currently Co-Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS).
Ms Axleby has over 25 years’ experience working within law and justice and has held the position of Chairperson of the Women’s Legal Service of South Australia, Alternate Deputy Chairperson of the then ATSIC Patpa Warra Yunti Regional Council, member of the Correctional Services Advisory Board to the Minister, and Board member of Dame Roma Mitchell. She currently holds positions as a board member of Seeds Of Affinity, Reconciliation SA, Justice Reinvestment SA Working Group, the SA Coalition for Social Justice, Tandanya Aboriginal Arts Centre and the Aboriginal Prisoners Offender Support Services in SA. Ms Axleby’s vision is for every Australian to be ‘proactive’ rather than ‘reactive’ to the issues impacting on the quality of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Dr Tracey McIntosh, Professor at the University of Auckland
Dr Tracey McIntosh, MNZM, (Ngāi Tūhoe) is a sociologist and is Professor of Indigenous Studies and Co-Head of Te Wānanga o Waipapa (School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies) at the University of Auckland. She was the former Co-Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence.
In 2012, she served as the Co-Chair of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty. In 2018-2019, she was a member of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG) which released the report Whakmana Tangata: Restoring Dignity to Social Security in New Zealand (2019) and Te Uepū Hapai i te Ora- The Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group which released two reports He Waka Roimata: Transforming our Criminal Justice System (2019) and Turuki! Turuki! Recommendations for Transformation (2019).
Dr McIntosh is the Chief Science Advisor for the Ministry of Social Development and she has recently been appointed as a Commissioner for the Criminal Cases Review Commission. She sits on a range of advisory groups and boards for government and community organisations and currently delivers education and creative writing programmes in prisons.
Her recent research focused on incarceration (particularly of Māori and Indigenous peoples) and issues pertaining to poverty, inequality and social justice. Dr McIntosh recognises the significance of working with those that have lived experience of incarceration and marginalisation and acknowledges them as experts of their own condition.
Mr Tony McAvoy SC, Barrister and Senior Counsel
Tony McAvoy SC is a Wirdi man from Central Queensland. He was admitted as a Barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2000, and made history in 2015 as the first Indigenous Senior Counsel in Australia. In 2018, he was awarded the QUT Outstanding Alumnus Award. Mr McAvoy SC has expertise in the areas of native title, human rights and discrimination law, environmental law, administrative law, coronial inquests and criminal law. Prior to becoming a barrister, Mr McAvoy SC worked in private practice, the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service, and in the New South Wales Government.
He has held many positions concerning Indigenous affairs and land rights, including the Registrar of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW), Acting Part-Time Commissioner of the Land and Environment Court between 2011 and 2013, and Co-Senior Council Assisting the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. He is Co-Chair of the Law Council of Australia’s Indigenous Legal Issues Committee, Chair of the First Nations Committee of the New South Wales Bar Association, Member of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration’s Council 2020-21, and Board Member of Griffith University’s new Climate Ready Initiative. Mr McAvoy SC was on the ALRC’s Pathways to Justice Advisory Committee.
Pauline Wright, Law Council President
Pauline Wright is a Partner Principal of P J Donnellan & Co Solicitors in Gosford. She was the President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties from 2018 to 2019, having been Vice President since 1998, and has been active particularly in the areas of criminal justice, anti-terrorism and asylum-seeker policy. Ms Wright was President of the Law Society of NSW in 2017, having served on the Council of the Law Society of NSW since 1997. She also sits on a number of committees and working groups of the Law Council of Australia, including the Access to Justice Committee, Equal Opportunity Committee and the National Criminal Law Committee.