Indigenous rights

  • The convergence of tradition and law – cultural fishing and criminal justice

    18th May 2023

    'We must find a timely solution to protect cultural fishing practices and the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ensure knowledge and customs continue to be shared with younger generations, and ultimately reduce the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in prison,' writes Dion Bull of Stacks Law Firm.

  • Coronial findings response: Greater cultural consideration and a therapeutic approach urgently needed in Victorian bail decisions

    30th Jan 2023

    A requirement that the police and the court must explicitly consider a person’s Indigenous status when making decisions in regards to bail and sentencing would help address the systemic failures highlighted today by Coroner Simon McGregor’s investigation into the death of Indigenous woman, Veronica Nelson.

  • Queensland First Nations treaty welcome: will help fight injustice

    16th Aug 2022

    The Queensland government’s commitment to developing a treaty making framework and a truth-telling process is a welcome step towards addressing the injustice experienced by First Nations communities, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • National Reconciliation Week: Voice to Parliament will make real change

    27th May 2022

    The new Federal Government has a unique opportunity to significantly change the lives of First Nations people by moving quickly to hold a referendum to allow for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.

  • Criminalising coercive control will risk harm to First Nations women

    12th Jul 2021

    The criminalisation of coercive control has significant potential to harm the women that most need protection from violence, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Urgent action needed to ensure fair redress for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

    30th Jun 2021

    Urgent changes must be made to the National Redress Scheme legislation to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive fair and equal access to compensation, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

  • 30 years since Royal Commission: criminal justice system still fails First Nations people

    14th Apr 2021

    Australia’s criminal justice system continues to fail First Nations people 30 years after the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody were handed down, say lawyers.

  • Fighting racism in the healthcare system

    8th Apr 2021

    Despite the common belief that the Australian health system treats everyone equally, George Newhouse and Karina Hawtrey argue that the system operates in a way that disproportionately excludes and harms First Nations people. They discuss the ways in which legal advocates can recognise and assist in fighting racism, including by implementing firm-wide anti-racism policies and taking on cases of medical negligence faced by First Nations clients.

  • Rethinking access to racial justice

    12th Nov 2020

    Despite initial expectations, race discrimination laws have not made as strong a contribution as they might have to First Nations peoples, partly due to problems relating to access to justice and, in particular, the under-utilisation of anti-discrimination legal remedies.

    Dr Fiona Allison and Jodie Luck discuss potential solutions which include reform of the mainstream legal system informed by First Nations peoples’ needs and perspectives, and support of community-led responses to racism, including those likely to increase awareness of legal rights.

  • Acknowledgment of Country: What should we be doing at the ALA?

    23rd Apr 2020

    Under the ALA's inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan which was launched in October 2019, the ALA and its office holders have an obligation to demonstrate respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by observing cultural protocols. One of the most important cultural protocols is the Acknowledgment of Country. In this article, the ALA's then Policy and Advocacy Manager, Dr Louis Schetzer explains why the Acknowledgment matters, and when and how we as members of the ALA should observe this important symbolic act of respect. Louis also offers some suggestions to keep in mind when you are preparing and delivering your Acknowledgment to Country to ensure it is genuine, significant and educative.

  • COVID-19 in detention centres & prisons: A potential human rights catastrophe

    24th Mar 2020

    Proposed NSW legislation that will allow for the early release of some prisoners is welcome, and similar legislation should be introduced in all other states and territories as a matter of urgency, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • The High Court and the ‘aliens’ power

    12th Mar 2020

    Professor Megan Davis explains that on the key issues animating public attention – an Aboriginality test and sovereignty – a close reading of each judgment in Love; Thoms reveals that there are no majority pronouncements that change the status quo. The decision does not create a new category of person, nor does it create special rights. What it does do, however, is bolster the argument for constitutional reform.

  • ALA welcomes landmark High Court decision

    11th Feb 2020

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) welcomes the decision by the High Court today confirming that Aboriginal Australians cannot be deported under immigration law.


  • ALA launches Reconciliation Action Plan at national conference

    25th Oct 2019

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance’s (ALA) first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was launched today at the organisation’s annual national conference.

  • Aboriginal group launches defamation case against Channel 7

    11th Jul 2019

    Peter O’Brien represents a group of clients from the NT community of Yirrkala, who are suing Channel 7 in the Federal Court following a segment that was broadcast on Sunrise Breakfast. In June, Channel 7 attempted that argue that the community members’ Statement of Claim should be struck out.

  • NAIDOC Week: ALA calls for Indigenous Legal Assistance Program to be retained

    10th Jul 2019

    During NAIDOC Week, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) is joining the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) to call on the Federal Government to commit to retaining the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program (ILAP).

  • NAIDOC Week: Government must enshrine First Nations voice in constitution

    8th Jul 2019

    Enshrining a First Nations Voice in the constitution must be a priority for this government, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) amidst NAIDOC Week celebrations.


  • ALA says PM has unique opportunity to enshrine First Nations Voice in constitution

    27th May 2019

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a unique opportunity to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to move towards enshrining a First Nations Voice in the constitution, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • ALA condemns government failure to act on ATSI justice report

    1st Apr 2019

    The ALA has joined with other professional legal bodies to condemn the government’s failure to act on the ‘Pathways to Justice’ report

  • Indigenous Voice to Parliament must be our constitutional priority: ALA

    30th Nov 2018

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed the parliamentary report that supports constitutional recognition for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

  • ALA backs Uluru Statement

    29th Jun 2018

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has endorsed the Uluru Statement from the Heart as the organisation’s new president, Ms Noor Blumer, commences in her role.

  • UN body recommends urgent action to remedy Australia’s human rights

    10th Nov 2017

    The UN Human Rights Committee has today slammed Australia’s human rights record, recommending the implementation of ‘comprehensive federal legislation’ to guarantee human rights, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Royal Commission terms of reference a missed opportunity - lawyers

    28th Jul 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance said today that the Turnbull Government had missed a once in a generation opportunity to deal with the inherent racism of the Australian legal system towards Indigenous people.

  • ALA welcomes Royal Commission announcement into children in detention

    26th Jul 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has today offered its strong support for the announcement of a Royal Commission into juvenile detention, following reports of appalling and sickening torture and ill treatment within juvenile detention in the Northern Territory.

  • ALA National Civil Justice Award 2012

    26th Oct 2012

    Justice crusaders Eddie Mabo and David Manne are this year’s winners of the Australian Lawyers Alliance National Civil Justice Award.

  • NT Minister’s decision not to discipline officers a disgrace - ALA

    5th Oct 2012

    A lawyer representing the family of a man who died in a Northern Territory watchhouse, earlier this year, has labelled the Deputy Chief Minister’s announcement today, not to discipline the officers who contributed to his death, as shameful.

  • Apartheid-style legislation is incompatible with human rights

    29th Jun 2012

    The Federal Government’s recklessness in pushing through parliament, with the support of some Opposition MPs, racist legislation, that sets the rights of Indigenous people in the Northern Territory back decades, will not go unchallenged, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Dark day as bills threaten asylum seekers and Indigenous rights

    28th Jun 2012

    “Two bills concurrently being considered by the Australian Federal Parliament flag the urgent need for a Federal Human Rights Act to protect the rights of the marginalised and disadvantaged,” Australian Lawyers Alliance National President, Greg Barns, said today.

  • ALA applauds stance of Indigenous elders against 'Stronger Futures'

    2nd May 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today applauded the bold stance of Indigenous elders in west and central Arnhem Land who are refusing to participate in land lease negotiations for mining exploration licences in revolt against the Federal Government’s Stronger Futures legislation.

  • Bipartisan Stronger Futures policy in breach of international law

    14th Mar 2012

    Release today of the Senate report on the proposed Stronger Futures law, has prompted the Australian Lawyers Alliance to warn the federal government to be wary of breaching international human rights decrees if the legislation passes through the Senate. 

  • Politicians ruling by stealth as wilful ignorance flourishes

    12th Mar 2012

    Opinion piece written by Mandy Wyer for attribution to ALA National President, Greg Barns. It appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald Opinion page on Friday 16 March 2012.

  • Stronger Futures film and consultation at Parliament House today

    27th Feb 2012

    Notification of the Our Generation Indigenous film and Stronger Futures Consultation Evening at Parliament House theatrette, Canberra.

  • Proposed Stronger Futures law will put more Indigenous people in jail

    7th Feb 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance said today that the federal government’s proposed Stronger Futures legislation will continue to erode Indigenous advancement and increase the Indigenous jail population.

  • Indigenous rights documentary to be screened at Parliament House

    3rd Feb 2012

    Concern that federal politicians are about to vote on crucial Indigenous rights legislation, without proper evaluation or community consultation, has prompted an Indigenous documentary screening and discussion evening at Parliament House, Canberra, this month.