It’s been another exciting and busy year at the ALRC. Mid year saw the tabling of Connection to Country: Review of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), the final report for the Native Title Inquiry led by Professor Lee Godden of the University of Melbourne, with an official launch on 29 June 2015. In September and October, on the back of the Freedoms Interim Report, we traversed the country—from Brisbane, to Adelaide, to Perth and Melbourne, then back to Sydney—for a national series of discussions on the current Freedoms Inquiry. By the end of this month, we will deliver the Freedoms final report to the Attorney-General. In the midst of all this, in July we welcomed a new part-time Commissioner, Emeritus Professor Suri Ratnapala of the University of Queensland, to assist with the Freedoms Inquiry; my own appointment as President was extended for another three years; and just last week the terms of our existing part-time Commissioners, the Hon Justice John Middleton and the Hon Justice Nye Perram, were extended for a further year.
2015 has been a milestone year, marking as it does the ALRC’s 40th anniversary—which we celebrated at the Federal Court with Attorney-General Senator the Hon George Brandis QC; inaugural ALRC Chairman, the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG; the Hon Chief Justice Robert French AC; and commissioners, staff, stakeholders and friends spanning 40 years. To all of these, and to all of you, I thank you on behalf of the ALRC for your contributions to law reform and your continued interest in our work. Together we can ‘fan the flame of ideas’, to quote Michael Kirby.
I would especially like to thank and acknowledge the wonderful staff at the ALRC. Their intellect, collegiality and commitment are a source of pride and inspiration, and I am thrilled to embark on another three years of law reform with them.
A peaceful and happy Christmas to all!