Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice
At Maurice Blackburn, we believe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights are worth actively fighting for. We work in the courts and in the community to address injustices and to help close the reconciliation gap in health, income and living standards between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.
Indigenous land rights - Muckaty Station
Maurice Blackburn filed a legal challenge against the Commonwealth Government and the Northern Land Council in June 2010 over plans for a radioactive waste dump on Indigenous land in the Northern Territory. Mark Lane Jangala, a senior Traditional Owner of Muckaty Station near Tennant Creek, claimed the NLC failed to take appropriate steps to ensure Traditional Aboriginal owners including himself and other elders understood the nature and purpose of the nomination, and failed to obtain proper consent before nominating land on Muckaty Station as a site for Australia's first radioactive waste dump.
A Federal Court trial began on 2 June 2014 before Justice Anthony North. Evidence was also taken on country in Tennant Creek for 5 days. Two weeks into the trial, the parties reached a settlement after the Federal Government agreed not to act upon the nomination of the site by the Northern Land Council (NLC).
Maurice Blackburn Reconciliation Action Plan
The Social Justice Practice Indigenous and Land Rights Sub-Committee has developed our Aboriginal Reconciliation Action Plan in consultation with Reconciliation Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative bodies including the Aboriginal Law Students and Lawyers Association of Victoria, Tarwirri The plan was launched by Aboriginal barrister Munya Andrews on 24 March 2011.
See the plan here.
Stolen Generation compensation payments
Maurice Blackburn has assisted members of the Stolen Generation to make applications for compensation under statutory regimes and has assisted claimants to make Freedom of Information requests for records relating to their removal and housing.
Our Social Justice practice is actively searching further avenues to assist the Indigenous community with public interest litigation.
We see reconciliation as necessary and valuable in the fabric of society. An important part of this process is developing meaningful employment opportunities. We want to contribute to this by finding ways to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to join the legal profession. We also believe that our reconciliation initiatives will help to attract and retain loyal staff who share our values, foster a positive work environment, and lead to new opportunities to engage with potential clients.
Employment at Maurice Blackburn
In 2009, Maurice Blackburn launched a pilot Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Seasonal Clerkship Program which we have now committed to making a permanent element of our Victorian recruitment. Through expanding and improving this and implementing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Trainee Lawyer Program, we aim to become the firm of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law clerks. We also strive to attract and increase Indigenous employees at other levels and capacities within the firm, including in legal positions and as support staff.