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The William Ah Ket Scholarship 2021 Launches!

13 Jul 2021 7:00 PM | Anonymous


On Wednesday 2 June 2021, the Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) together with principal sponsor Maddocks and supporting partner, the University of Melbourne, officially launched the William Ah Ket Scholarship for 2021.

The Scholarship is named in honour of William Ah Ket, who is believed to be the first Asian-Australian barrister who practised at the Victorian Bar in the early 20th century and counted as one of Australia’s earliest human rights lawyers, blazing a trail for others to follow in his wake, challenging discriminatory laws and fostering international relations.

Initially planned as an in-person event at the Melbourne Law School, the changing coronavirus pandemic restrictions in Victoria saw the celebration of the launch proceed by way of an online event held via Zoom. The launch was attended by over 100 AALA members and supporters across Australia and was a resounding success!

Our keynote speaker, Her Honour Chief Justice Anne Ferguson of the Supreme Court of Victoria delivered an address on the important legacy of William Ah Ket and what contemporary lawyers can learn from the attributes that he modelled, including not just technical ability, but also, resilience, perseverance and working for change.

Our attendees also had the pleasure to hear from Professor Sarah Biddulph, Professor of Law at Melbourne Law School, Director of its Asian Law Centre and Assistant Deputy Vice Chancellor International (China) at the University of Melbourne about the University’s efforts to collect information about William Ah Ket and to help tell his story.

Through this journey and the generosity of those who have come forward to share information about William Ah Ket, including members of the Ah Ket family, the Hon. Michael Black, the former Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, Julian McMahon SC, interesting facts about William Ah Ket and traces of his legacy have been discovered.

We encourage all to visit the AALA website and visit the public gallery in Owen Dixon Chambers West, where a William Ah Ket display has been installed and where his portrait will be unveiled later this year to learn more about William Ah Ket.

The AALA and the William Ah Ket Scholarship Committee are incredibly grateful and express their thanks to Her Honour Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Professor Biddulph for their wonderfully engaging speeches. We are hopeful persons at a junior stage of their legal career in Australia were inspired to not only get involved and submit a paper for the scholarship, but ultimately to strive to use their knowledge and skills to make a difference and improve our civil society, just as Mr Ah Ket did at the start of the 20th Century.

The AALA and the William Ah Ket Scholarship Committee gives thanks to all those that attended, with special thanks to our National Patron and member of the judging panel of this year’s Scholarship, the Hon. Diana Bryant AO QC, Australian Human Rights Commissioner Chin Tan, Vivienne Nguyen, Chair of the Victorian Multicultural Commission and Matthew Howard, President of the Australian Bar Association for their attendance.

The AALA would also like to thank Maddocks for their generous sponsorship of the Scholarship and their longstanding commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the legal profession and the University of Melbourne and staff of the Melbourne Law School for their efforts in supporting the Scholarship and their research and promotion of William Ah Ket’s legacy.

Well done to the organisers from:

Asian Australian Lawyers Association – William Lye OAM QC, Reynah Tang AM, Molina Asthana, Kingsley Liu, Kelvin Ng, Daniel D Nguyen, Jenny Si, Kerry Truong and Chuan Jun Yeap.

Maddocks – Jason Silverii

The Supreme Court of Victoria – Associate Sophie Meixner and Communications and Engagement Director Sarah Dolan

The University of Melbourne – Associate Professor Andrew Godwin, Dorothy Ngo and Emily Holt

For more information about the William Ah Ket Scholarship 2021 and how to apply, please click here or email us at scholarship@aala.org.au

Copyright 2015 Asian Australian Lawyers Association Inc.

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