Molina Asthana, Vice President of Asian Australian Lawyers Association, interviewed by Law in Colour; 25 Nov., 2020
To read the interview
AALA is delighted to release the YouTube video for the inaugural AALA National Cultural Diversity Summit, our largest ever event.
The video features:
Acknowledgment of Country and Welcome - Kingsley Liu and Anand Shah
Session 1 - Being a Community Leader and Promoting Diversity - Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG and Judge My Anh Tran, chaired by John K Arthur
Session 2 - Access to Justice as a Cultural Diversity Goal - Hon Justice Darryl Rangiah and Mai Chen, chaired by Matt Floro
Cooking Break with Moni Lai Storz
Session 3 - Model for Judicial Appointments - The Need for Cultural Diversity - Rt Hon Lord Justice Rabinder Singh, Hon Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Pauline Wright, chaired by Belinda Wong
Comedy Break with Diana Nguyen
Session 4 - Collaborating for Cultural Diversity in the Law - Donald Betts Jr, Jazeer Nijamudeen and Amani Green, chaired by Molina Asthana
Vote of thanks - Wai Kaey Soon and Daniel Nguyen
Sitar performance by Sudha Manian
We invite you to sit back, relax, and watch the National Summit video at your leisure!
Watch the National Summit Video
Join AALA or renew your AALA membership now
AALA National Annual General Meeting 2020 - 26 November 2020 via Zoom and on-site at the offices of Corrs Chambers Westgarth in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney
The AALA National Annual General Meeting (National AGM) will be held:
Date: Thursday, 26 November 2020
Time: 6.00pm AEDST (Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney) (for a 6.30pm start)
5.30pm ACDST (Adelaide) (for a 6.00pm start)
5.00pm AEST (Brisbane) (for a 5.30pm start)
3.00pm AWST (Perth) (for a 3.30pm start)
The National AGM will be simultaneously held virtually via Zoom and on-site at the offices of Corrs Chambers Westgarth in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. AALA thanks Corrs Chambers Westgarth for its generous support.
If you live anywhere in Australia, instead of attending the National AGM in person, you may choose to attend via Zoom. Zoom details will be sent to you upon registration.
For further details about the National AGM, please visit the National AGM event page.
You must register to attend the National AGM. Registration to attend the National AGM closes at 6pm AEDST Wednesday 25 November 2020.
Register for the National AGM now
ANNOUNCEMENT OF NATIONAL AGM GUEST SPEAKER
AALA is delighted to announce our guest speaker for the National AGM:
Elizabeth Lee MLA, ACT Opposition Leader, Member for Kurrajong in the ACT Legislative Assembly
Elizabeth is the first Asian Australian leader of a major Australian political party. Elizabeth was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly in 2016. Prior to becoming Leader, Elizabeth was the Assistant Speaker, Shadow Minister for Education, Shadow Minister for the Environment, Shadow Minister for Disability. Having migrated to Australia from Korea at the age of seven, Elizabeth grew up in Sydney. Elizabeth moved to Canberra when she turned 18 to study Law and Asian Studies at The Australian National University (ANU). Elizabeth practised law in government and in private practice, prior to working to the ANU and the University of Canberra to be a law lecturer. During her time in legal practice, Elizabeth served the profession as Chair of the ACT and the Australian Young Lawyers Committees and as a Councillor and Vice President of the ACT Law Society. Elizabeth has a passion for fitness. Prior to being elected, Elizabeth often taught group fitness classes, Sh’Bam and Body Balance at various gyms around Canberra.
IMPORTANT: ATTENDANCE AND VOTING AT NATIONAL AGM
You will only be allowed to vote at the National AGM, or be nominated for a position on the National Executive Committee, if you joined AALA or renewed your AALA membership on or before 11 November 2020. If you wish to check the currency of your AALA membership, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Further details are available at the National AGM event page.
If you are not eligible to vote at the National AGM, you are welcome to register and attend as an observer.
Whether you are attending the National AGM via Zoom or in person, please carefully read the instructions below that are applicable to you.
Attending the National AGM via Zoom
If you are attending the National AGM via Zoom:
Please note the following important information in relation to any contested elections for AALA National Executive Committee positions:
Attending the National AGM in person
If you are attending the National AGM in person, you must attend the offices of Corrs Chambers Westgarth in either Brisbane, Perth or Sydney at 6pm AEDST / 5pm AEST / 3pm AWST SHARP. Please note the following:
Treatment of proxies for contested elections
In relation to any contested elections:
All proxy forms must be submitted electronically to the National Returning Officer by e-mail to email@example.com by 6pm AEDST / 5.30pm ACDST / 5pm AEST / 3pm AWST on 25 November 2020 to be valid.
National AGM rules and moderation
Please note the following National AGM rules:
Please be respectful and polite during your attendance at the National AGM. This includes verbal communication during the National AGM and any use of the Zoom chat function. The National AGM is moderated by the National AGM Chair.
AALA National Secretary
The ACT Law Society has heralded the establishment of the AALA ACT Branch in its e-bulletin "Hearsay" Mon, 9 Nov 2020.
The Asian Australian Lawyers Association is very proud to announce the establishment of the ACT Branch, with executive members Veer Dhaliwal (President), Rahul Bedi (Vice President) and Pei Chow (Secretary). For bios of the ACT Branch Executive and Committee go to
The ACT Branch is looking forward to bringing a focus in the local community on the growing number of Asian Australian Lawyers in the profession as well as other lawyers, like minded professionals, departments and businesses with a keen interest in Asia.
If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact the ACT AALA Executive at:
Read full article
ACT members should note the 2020 ACT Branch Meeting will be held tomorrow, Tuesday 24 November 2020 online via zoom to register
Dowry and coercive control issues must be better addressed
By Jerome Doraisamy, Lawyers Weekly, 19 November 2020
Australian law is currently falling short in effectively dealing with domestic issues afflicting culturally diverse or minority communities, argue two advocates.
In the words of Pallavi Sinha, “the law sets the standard for what is or is not acceptable in society”. Unfortunately, when it comes to dowries and coercive control, there are currently insufficient mechanisms in the Australian justice system to address issues that give rise to domestic and family violence in culturally diverse communities.
A dowry, Molina Asthana explained, is the transfer of money, property or gifts from a woman’s family to her husband upon marriage. The practice is common across South Asian, South-East Asian, Chinese, African and Middle Eastern countries and global communities. Australian law does not currently have the requisite mechanisms to address dowry-related violence, she said.
“Two of the biggest challenges this creates is that the Family Law Act does not adequately or consistently enable victims of dowry abuse to recover dowry provided by the victim or their family in the event of divorce proceedings, including those gifts exchanged in other jurisdictions and for it to be factored into property settlements during separation and divorce, to be recognised as property (typically belonging to the woman),” said Ms Asthana, who is the new vice-president of the Law Institute of Victoria and the vice-president of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association.
Concerns raised over Senate diaspora inquiry, by Tony Zhang, 11 November 2020, Lawyers Weekly
Community bodies and advocates have raised concerns over questions asked of three witnesses who appeared before the Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade references committee at a hearing concerning “issues facing diaspora communities in Australia”.
Last week, the Senate committee examining issues facing diaspora communities in Australia heard from Yun Jiang, Osmond Chiu and Wesa Chau, who told the inquiry many Chinese Australians feel intimidated in speaking out on issues concerning their community and their country.
Following their opening statements, Hansard records that the following question was put to the three witnesses with Chinese/East Asian-sounding names by a member of the committee: “(c)an I ask each of the three witnesses to very briefly tell me whether they are willing to unconditionally condemn the Chinese Communist Party dictatorship? It’s not a difficult question”.
The AALA stated it is not apparent that the same, or similar, question was put to any other witness appearing before the committee.
Molina Asthana, national vice-president of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association said the AALA supports the right of all Australians (including their elected representatives) to free speech perhaps more so in Parliament or in parliamentary committees.
“However, we strongly advocate that all members of the Australian community should be accorded with the core Australian values of natural justice, fairness, equality and a ‘fair go’; and that persons of Asian ancestry (or any other ancestry) are not subjected to processes and inquiries inconsistent with those values in Australian public life and before any governmental and representative bodies,” the AALA stated.
Q&A covered the issue. Here's a facebook link to the question put by Osmond Chiu and the response by Jan Fran.
AALA joins the Law Council of Australia President Pauline Wright, in congratulating Daye Gang, barrister and member of the Victorian Bar for winning the prestigious “2020 Annual IBA Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year” award, Law Council President, Pauline Wright, response to Korean-Australian named as IBA Annual Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year.
Ms Wright states "Ms Gang, who is the first Australian to win the award, has been recognised for her substantial pro bono contributions and her outstanding work on North Korea, which includes advising the United Nations, the European Union, and the US Senate. Daye is an advocate for human rights in North Korea with the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights, one of the oldest North Korean human rights organisations in the world. Part of her advocacy work has included being a key participant at briefings of members of United Nations agencies and representatives of the United States Congress. She is also contributing to the pool of English-language resources for the future of the Korean peninsula, namely by translating North Korean laws into English. Having conducted world-first research on North Korea’s government, society and economy for public accountability reporting and human rights reporting submissions to the United Nations, Daye is continuing the work of investigating international crimes started by the Commission of Inquiry on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, all within only a few years of graduating from her LLB, during which, she studied for and passed the Victorian Bar Entrance Exam. An outstanding young woman, Daye is currently undertaking a PhD with the Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights at Monash University on the topic of restorative justice for sexual and family violence. I am very proud to see that the skills and talent of this Korean Australian female lawyer have been recognised by such an illustrious international forum. The award, created in partnership with the IBA and LexisNexis, is presented annually to a young lawyer who has shown not only excellence in their work and achievements in their career to date, but also a commitment to professional and ethical standards as well as a commitment to the larger community. I believe that we can expect to see a lot more of Daye Gang in the years ahead.
You can hear Daye Gang’s acceptance speech here".
To read official IBA notice
To read Vicbar and Svenson Barristers congratulations
The Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) is dedicated to celebrating and advancing diversity in the Australian legal profession, and for expanding professional and cultural opportunities for all Asian Australian and all Australian legal practitioners in Australia and in the Asia-Pacific region.
The AALA expresses its concern over a question that was asked of three witnesses who appeared before the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee on 14 October 2020 at a hearing concerning “Issues facing diaspora communities in Australia”.
Hansard records that the following question was put to the three witnesses with Chinese/East Asian sounding names by a member of the committee:
“(c)an I ask each of the three witnesses to very briefly tell me whether they are willing to unconditionally condemn the Chinese Communist Party dictatorship? It's not a difficult question”.
The reference to the Hansard record can be found here.
It is not apparent that the same, or similar, question was put to any other witness appearing before the Committee.
Each of the three witnesses in responding to the question shared their opinion on how they felt about being questioned in that manner (which can be found here).
AALA supports the right of all Australians (including their elected representatives) to free speech perhaps more so in parliament or in parliamentary committees. However, AALA strongly advocates that all members of the Australian community should be accorded with the core Australian values of natural justice, fairness, equality and a ‘fair go’; and that persons of Asian ancestry (or any other ancestry) are not subjected to processes and inquiries inconsistent with those values in Australian public life and before any governmental and representative bodies. Australia must be a level playing field.
AALA urges all members of the community, including our parliamentary representatives, to adhere to our core Australian values and our shared commitment to those values. AALA also calls on all members of the community to demand and claim their right to speak out and engage with the institutions and bodies of civil society to maintain and build on our uniquely Australian dedication to justice, fairness, tolerance, equality and a ‘fair go’.
Further inquiries may be made to the AALA by email or by contacting Molina Asthana at 0400785299.
A new branch of Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) was established in South Australia on 1 October 2020. With its recent establishment, AALA now has branches in SA, ACT (also established on 1 October), WA, Victoria, Qld and NSW, cementing its place as a national organisation.
Jessica Teoh, a Director at Laity Morrow, is President, and Brian Vuong, a Director at Kain Lawyers, is Secretary, of the inaugural SA Branch.
AALA welcomes our new SA branch!
For further information read full article from The Bulletin - Law Society of South Australia "Asian Australian Lawyers Association establishes new branch"
AALA Vice President Molina Asthana has been announced as a finalist in the Women in Law Awards 2020 as Thought Leader of the Year. As a finalist, she has been recognised among Australia’s top female legal professionals. Congratulations to Molina on this much-deserved honour.
To see all 2020 Finalists
Winners announced at the awards ceremenony on 10 December, 2020. For more information is here.
Subscribe to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email >>
Asian Australian Lawyers AssociationC/- 820 Drummond StreetCarlton North VIC 3054
Copyright 2015 Asian Australian Lawyers Association Inc.
Site by Highland Creative