NAIDOC Webinar Event

NAIDOC Webinar: Celebrating 50 years of protest, resistance and Aboriginal community controlled legal services

Date: Friday 13 November 2020

Time: 12.45-2pm

Registration: Click here

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​This NAIDOC Week, we are celebrating the 50-year milestone since the Aboriginal Legal Service first opened its doors.

In 1970, the ALS in Redfern was established as the first Aboriginal legal service in Australia as well as the first free legal service in the country. We were born out of protest and the pursuit of justice. Those principles continue to guide our work today as we fight for the rights and wellbeing of our mob.

You're invited to join a lunchtime panel discussion on Friday 13 November at 12:45 to celebrate how far we’ve come and discuss what’s still left to achieve. This free Zoom event is open to the public and will feature the the speakers listed below.​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​



Host

Peter Stapleton

Peter Stapleton is a solicitor who has been associated with the ALS since the early days, shortly after it was established. As an ALS volunteer, he observed in 1972/73 when an unofficial police-imposed evening curfew was targeting the local Aboriginal community in Redfern. He subsequently served on the ALS Management Committee for a period of time.

Over the following 30 years, Peter remained involved with the ALS while working as Partner in a leading Australian law firm. In 2005/06, he collaborated with the six existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services within NSW to merge them into the united Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT. 

Peter has been an Honorary Director of the ALS NSW/ACT since 2006. That same year, he was awarded the Justice Medal by the Law and Justice Foundation NSW.

Speakers

Lyall Munro​​​​​​​ Jr

Lyall is a Gamilaroi man from Moree, NSW. He arrived in Sydney in 1967 and met his wife Jenny Coe in 1972. They have seven children and many grandchildren.

In 1965, Lyall was one of six local men who joined Charlie Perkins Freedom Ride in Moree to protest the exclusion of Aboriginal people from the pools. In 1972, he led a workers’ strike at Wee Waa to protest against the $1 per hour wages.

Lyall was a founding member of the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service, Aboriginal Medical Service and the Aboriginal Housing Company. He also served in many Aboriginal organisations, including The Black Theatre, Aboriginal Children’s service, The Redfern All Blacks, and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service.

Uncle Hewitt Whyman

Hewitt Whyman is an ALS Board Member and was a long-time staff member before his retirement in 2013. Born in Deniliquin, his mother Country is Yorta Yorta and his father’s Country is Wemba Wemba. He has worked in Koori communities at a grassroots level and has been a representative on many government agencies for more than 40 years.

Joining the Aboriginal Legal Service in 1977 after a proud army career, Uncle Hewitt was responsible for establishing the ALS offices in Wagga Wagga and Griffith. He went on to hold the positions of Field Officer, Zone Manager and relieving Chief Executive Officer.

Uncle Hewitt simultaneously served as a member of the Regional Community Consultative Committee (South West Region) for the Department of Corrective Services, and through ministerial appointments, was a member of the NSW Aboriginal Justice Advisory Council, the NSW Ageing and Disability Committee, the NSW Heritage Commission, and the NSW Housing Office. He spent nine years as the elected Chairperson of the Binal Billa Regional Council (ATSIC).

In 2003, Uncle Hewitt won the Aboriginal Justice Award from the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, recognising his outstanding commitment to improving access to justice for Aboriginal peoples. He was also awarded NAIDOC Aboriginal Person of the Year Wagga Wagga in 2000.

He now resides in Wagga Wagga with his wife of 52 years, Dorothy, with whom he has four children and 13 grandchildren.

Makayla Reynolds

Makayla Reynolds is a proud Gamilaraay woman living on Bediagal land. She works as a paralegal at the ALS, a role that she holds great passion for.​​​​​​​

Makayla is also the proud sister of Nathan Reynolds, who suffered an asthma attack in prison in 2018. It took 40 minutes for medical help to arrive and Nathan died in custody just one week before his release date. This injustice propelled Makayla into activism on behalf of her brother, the movement to end Aboriginal deaths in custody, and the Black Lives Matter campaign. She recently spoke at the coronial inquest into her brother’s death, and continues to be a strong voice for her family and community.

Felicity Graham

Felicity Graham is a barrister at Black Chambers based in Sydney. She is an experienced lawyer with a focus on criminal, administrative and human rights law.

Felicity has a diverse national and international practice and a particular interest in legal mechanisms for achieving police accountability. She has recently appeared in a number of Supreme Court cases on behalf of Black Lives Matter activists seeking to defend the right to protest. 

Before being called to the bar in 2015, Felicity worked at the Aboriginal Legal Service in Dubbo and Broken Hill, including as the Principal Legal Officer and Trial Advocate in the Western Region. 

Felicity is a host of the popular legal podcast “The Wigs” with fellow former ALS lawyers. Her legal career commenced as Tipstaff to his Honour Justice Graham Barr at the NSW Supreme Court.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Registration: Click here

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