Established in 1970, Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) was the first organisation of its kind in Australia. Aboriginal activists and hard working lawyers, field o cers, and administration o cers created a space for Aboriginal people to achieve justice before the courts, where before they could not.
The self-determining model they built, where Aboriginal people are a key part of the solution, not part of the problem, is embodied today in our successful and deeply cultural Aboriginal community-controlled organisation. This is what our elders created as fundamental to realising their individual and community rights. And that legacy continues today as the future imagined by our people, with Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal people joining hands to achieve access to justice for Aboriginal people.
As community members, we remain deeply concerned about the treatment of our people. Incarceration rates continue to rise and our children continue to experience families broken by removal and imprisonment.
There is new upheaval in Aboriginal a airs in Australia but we are confident that the government understands that without access to decent culturally competent legal representation and access to justice, more Aboriginal people – particularly our children – will be taken away or will go to prison, and for longer.
The ALS and our sta will continue to work on our strengths, and our strength lies within our Board, our organisation and within our communities who continue to support us. We are robust – structurally, politically, and philosophically – and our values are strong. We will continue to provide the quality and culturally competent legal services our community relies upon.
To our friends, our supporters and our communities – thank you for your continuing support of our essential service.
Although some things have changed, our legacy remains true. Our organisation and our communities will not back away from current challenges. We will forge ahead boldly into 2015 and beyond to continue making a di erence to the lives of Aboriginal people a ected by legal issues.
Iris White, Chairperson
Ted Fernando, Deputy Chairperson
Phil Naden, Chief Executive