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About the Committee - National Executive Committee

National Executive Committee Members 2020-2021

Kingsley Liu National President  
Molina Asthana
National Vice-President
Matt Floro
National Secretary
Nai Yan Yeap
National Treasurer
Marija Gurlica NSW Branch President
David Chong NSW Branch Secretary  
Anand Shah Queensland Branch President
Vernon Ting Queensland Branch Secretary  
Kelvin Ng Victoria Branch President

Jenny Si Victoria Branch Secretary  
Belinda Wong WA Branch President
Stephanie Tan

WA Branch Secretary

 
 Jessica Teoh  SA Branch President  
 Brian Vuong  SA Branch President  
 Jessica Sabapathy  TAS Branch President  
 Diane Xu  TAS Branch Secretary  
Veer Dhaliwal 
ACT Branch President  
Rahul Bedi  ACT Branch Vice President   
John K Arthur Executive Committee Member  
Aruna Colombathantri Executive Committee Member
 
Olive Go Executive Committee Member
 
Sining Wang Executive Committee Member  
Tuanh Nguyen
Ex-Officio, Immediate Past President
 


 


Kingsley Liu, National President

He is the managing principal of Peoples Solicitors Pty Ltd, that was founded in 2006 in partnership with late Jeff Shaw QC, former NSW Attorney General & Supreme Court Judge. His firm specializes in litigation across all sectors including human rights. Its business model contains a social enterprise element, and acts for both corporate clients as well as the more disadvantaged.

Kingsley’s former career was in engineering and then trading conglomerates and investment banking in Asia, North America and UK with senior management and directorship positions. When he returned to Australia, he setup and managed ASX’s first Asian stock-broking firm by syndicated purchase. 

Kingsley has been involved as community spokesperson and political figure in areas of racial discrimination, equality and cultural diversity for the past 5 years.  He upholds diversity objectives through public advocacy, professional development, mentoring, fostering of empowerment and bringing career and business opportunities to members. 


Molina Asthana, National Vice-President

Molina is the Principal of Swarup Asthana Lawyers, practicing in commercial law. She was a Principal Solicitor with the Victorian Government Solicitor's Office (VGSO) for over 10 years and had been primarily working on Major Projects for the State of Victoria. She has broad-based commercial and litigation experience and localised expertise in mergers and acquisitions. Her previous experience includes working in Mergers & Acquisitions at Minter Ellison and in Banking & Finance at Clayton Utz. Prior to this, Molina practiced law in India for seven years. She is also a director on the board of three Australian NGOs working on significant community issues.

Molina is on the board of four NGOs working mostly on issues affecting the South Asian Communities in Australia. Molina also speaks on SBS Hindi radio regularly on legal issues of interest to Indians living in Australia and also writes in Indian newspapers on these issues. Further she has contributing to the development of laws in India. She has been consulted on the drafting of the privacy laws in India and has been acknowledged as an expert in the report accompanying the draft Indian Financial Consumer Protection Code, for her assistance in the drafting of the legislation.

She is also the President of the Victorian Chapter of the International Law Association and the Deputy Chair of the International Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria. She received the Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence - Service Delivery for Community Services 2014. She also received the Young Executive of the Year Award Female and the Person of the Year Award which was given to her by Hon. John Howard at the Indian Executive Awards 2013. Molina has profiled in the Top 50 of the Indian community in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013. She is also an AFL Multicultural Ambassador.


Matt Floro, National Secretary

Matt is a Senior Solicitor advising on environmental, planning, climate change and administrative law at the Environmental Defenders Office, Australia's largest public interest environmental community legal centre. He has practised environmental and planning law in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales and has worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, Clayton Utz and Corrs Chambers Westgarth. Passionate about community, he has led Out for Australia Victoria, the Australian Law Students' Association and his university law society. He currently serves as a Board Director of the National Environmental Law Association.

Matt holds undergraduate degrees in Law and Economics and a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Queensland. He also has a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University. He is currently undertaking a Master of Public Administration at Griffith University, a Global Master of Business Administration at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management and a specialist LLM in Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Law at the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College in Portland USA.  He teaches at various law schools in Sydney.


Nai Yan Yeap, National Treasurer

Nai Yan is passionate about what the Asian Australian Lawyers Association stands for - promoting cultural diversity in the law. For it is not simply about having more Asian and Asian Australian lawyers, as the perception may be. It is about creating a community of support, about pushing the discussion and the hard conversations, about challenging the unconscious bias we all have and the lack of awareness of its existence and effects. It's about role models so young students, lawyers and other professionals have someone to look up to that looks like them, so that they believe that they can be successful in spite of, but also because of, their differences.

Nai Yan's involvement with the AALA began in 2017, when she assisted the then National Treasurer with finance and membership matters, before stepping up as Interim Treasurer in August 2019, and then elected as National Treasurer at the 2019 AGM. Nai Yan was admitted as a lawyer in Victoria in December 2019, and works full-time as a management consultant in Canberra. 


Marija Gurlica, NSW Branch President

Marija Gurlica graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Law (Honours) / Bachelor of International Studies (Asian Studies and Mandarin) and a Bachelor of Critical Thinking and Leadership from Western Sydney University.  Collaborating with Western Sydney University in research and publishing, Marija's academic work has explored the intersection between climate change and aviation. 

Admitted in early 2020, Marija is a Solicitor at Lexia Wilson Lawyers, focusing on commercial real estate.  This follows her time at Piper Alderman where she completed her graduate rotation in commercial litigation, property and insolvency.

Marija sits on the NSW Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and is also the National Chair of the AALA Marketing and Media Portfolio, overseeing the design and communication of national marketing schemes.  Marija has now been an AALA Member for five years, active on the NSW State Committee and supporting various National Executive projects.  Harnessing her skills and networks as the Founding Chief Editor of the Western Sydney University law student magazine, 'Sapere Aude,' Marija enjoys connecting on a creative and provocative level. As an activist, mentor and community advocate, Marija is passionate in contributing to the growth of the legal profession and broader community.  Marija's work and leadership have been recognised by a number of industry awards and she looks forward to expanding the outreach of AALA.

Personal website: marijagurlica.com.au


David Bobby Chong, NSW Branch Secretary

David is a Banking & Finance lawyer and also a Digital Accelerator in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Sydney legal team offering his clients an integrated service offering alongside other teams at the firm such as Debt & Capital Advisory, Tax and Deals M&A, and prior to this, David completed his studies in 2017 at Monash University in Melbourne, where he was active in its clubs and societies. 

David was privileged to serve as the President of the Monash Accounting Students’ Association and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at Monash. At ASEAN Monash he promoted asian cultures and provided a social environment for students of asian heritage, and non-asian heritage alike, to form long lasting bonds of friendship. Being a fluent speaker of Mandarin, David pursued his desire to become a connection point between Australia and China. He joined the committee of the Australia China Youth Association where he helped strengthen ties between young people in Australia and China through bilateral initiatives in the areas of Careers, Education, and People-to-People Exchange. 

David has served the AALA in different roles at both the State and National levels since 2018. Currently, he serves as the Secretary of both the NSW Branch of AALA and the National Secretariat Governance Sub-committee. He hopes to play an important role in achieving AALA's mission of diversity in the legal profession and is excited about what the future holds.


Anand Shah, Queensland Branch President

Anand joined the Bar over 18 years ago (Carbolic Group Chambers) after practising as a solicitor for 11 years.  Anand’s practice areas include commercial litigation, administrative law, succession, defamation, personal injuries and human rights.  He has appeared in the High Court, Queensland Court of Appeal, Federal Court and as trial counsel in all State Courts, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, QCAT and the Queensland Coroners Court.

Anand is a Nationally Accredited Mediator and has acted as a mediator in commercial, professional negligence, succession and personal injuries disputes.  Anand is also an accredited Family Law Property Specialist (Bar Association of Queensland).

Anand has been elected by the Queensland Bar, on many occasions, to serve on its Bar Council (the Bar’s peak executive body).  In 2012 and 2013, Anand chaired the QUT Learning Potential Fund (LPF) committee.  LPF supports socio-economically disadvantaged QUT students and is the largest fund of its type in Australia.  Through LawRight, Anand has undertaken much pro-bono work.  He has mentored students and junior practitioners throughout his career.  He has presented at and designed legal conferences for over 20 years and written for LexisNexis over a similar period.

In his spare time, Anand reads broadly outside the law, listens to the radio and vinyl records, enjoys Australian and international cinema, visits many art galleries and hangs out and travels with his wife (Kris) and their pooch, Jasper. 


Vernon Ting, Queensland Branch Secretary

Vernon is a solicitor in the in-house legal team at Brisbane Airport Corporation Pty Ltd and provides strategic and practical legal advice and solutions to all areas of the business.  He has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) from the University of Queensland and completed his Practical Legal Training at the Queensland University of Technology. He also studied law for 6 months at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

Vernon is an Australian-born Chinese and grew up as a Brisbane local.  He is fluent in English and Cantonese.  His passion for travelling has led him to travel to over 20 countries where he had the opportunity to embed himself into different cultures.  Vernon is passionate in promoting cultural diversity in the legal profession and believes that his involvement as a committee member of the AALA will help improve Asian cultural awareness and understanding.


Kelvin Ng, Victoria Branch President

Kelvin Ng is the President of the Victorian Branch of the AALA, having been involved with the AALA since 2018.

Kelvin’s motivation for pursuing greater cultural diversity in the law arises from his belief in the quintessentially Australian notion of the ‘fair go’, which embodies the egalitarian ideals of the society in which we live and work. This is particularly important in the legal profession due to the pivotal role it plays in upholding the rule of law, including equality before the law, regardless of race, gender or other attributes.

In 2018, Kelvin was named as a joint winner of the William Ah Ket Scholarship for co-authoring an essay on the topic ‘What does parity in cultural diversity look like?’. He has been heavily involved in student engagement, having previously chaired the Victorian Student Liaison subcommittee and convened the national University Outreach subcommittee.

At a national level, Kelvin is currently the convenor of the national Partnerships and Sponsorship, and Student Engagement subcommittees.

Outside of his direct capacity as an AALA committee member, Kelvin’s broader involvement in the D&I space includes:

  • being a member of the LIV Diversity Committee;
  • being a panellist at the Deakin Law Students’ Society ‘Diversity in Law’ Panel in 2019;
  • writing an article on the topic ‘Dealing with discrimination’, which was published in the 2019 LIV Young Lawyers Journal (Autumn Edition);
  • being featured in the student-run project, ‘Law in Colour’; and
  • being a mentor in the Monash Cultural and Lingual Appreciation Network Mentoring Program.

In terms of his cultural background, Kelvin was born in Hong Kong and is proficient in English, Cantonese, Mandarin and French.

Outside of the D&I space, Kelvin’s day job is as an associate in the litigation team at Norton Rose Fulbright, specialising in regulatory investigations and disputes, with expertise in:

  • corporations;
  • competition;
  • consumer protection; and
  • privacy.

He has assisted with the conduct of high profile and large scale investigations and proceedings on behalf of ASIC, the ACCC and OAIC.


Jenny Si, Victoria Branch Secretary

Jenny Si is the Victorian Branch Secretary of the AALA, having been involved with the organisation since 2014 in various capacities. She is the current chair of the Victorian Networking subcommittee and the current co-convenor of the national William Ah Ket Scholarship subcommittee.

Jenny is a solicitor at JT Lawyers and has experience in property law, commercial and retail leasing, business sales and acquisitions, dispute resolution and estate and succession planning.

Prior to her current role, she has worked in suburban legal practice, an in-house legal team and the community legal sector. Jenny is a Board Member and Secretary of the Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre.

Jenny is incredibly proud of the work the AALA does in promoting and raising awareness of the importance of a culturally diverse and inclusive legal profession. She looks forward to continuing to actively contribute to this cause and to the overall objectives of the AALA in general.


Belinda Wong, WA Branch President

Belinda Wong is a Senior Associate practising in the areas of construction and major projects disputes in the Perth office. She has had many years' experience acting for multinational and national entities (including major mining, engineering, construction and property development companies) in a range of disputes, including complex international and local arbitrations, large-scale litigation, adjudications under Security for Payment legislation and mediations. In regard to litigation, she has acted in both federal and state jurisdictions including the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Federal Court and the High Court. She has also provided front-end contract and risk advice to multinational clients.


Stephanie Tan, WA Branch Secretary

Stephanie practises predominantly in the areas of corporate/commercial litigation and dispute resolution. She has extensive experience in Federal, Supreme, District and Magistrates Court matters in a range of disputes under the Corporations Act, insolvency, construction, and general contractual and partnership disputes, and including mediations and arbitrations.  Stephanie holds qualifications in Law and Commerce with a double major in Accounting and Corporate Finance from The University of Western Australia.  In addition to the AALA, Stephanie is a member of the Law Society of Western Australia and the Restructuring & Insolvency Network Western Australia. 


Jessica Teo, SA Branch President

Jessica is a Director at Laity Morrow and has particular expertise in corporate governance and advisory, mergers and acquisitions, energy, resources and renewables and technology and intellectual property. She has acted for the public sector and the private sector, and for listed and unlisted companies, across a broad range of sectors including higher education and IT.

Jessica has a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) from the University of Adelaide.

Born to Malaysian Chinese parents, Jessica has grown up in Adelaide and is keen to be part of a network of people with culturally diverse backgrounds and to help AALA provide a mentoring network for Asian Australian law students and young lawyers within the legal profession.


Brian Vuong, SA Branch Secretary

Brian is a Director at Kain Lawyers and is an experienced corporate and M&A lawyer. Brian’s experience includes acting on public takeovers, scheme of arrangements, Takeover Panel proceedings, private M&A, capital raising, debt financing, major infrastructure projects and strategic commercial transactions.

Brian has also taught commercial law subjects at the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia and facilitates the Commercial and Corporate component of the Law Society of South Australia’s Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice.

He has joined AALA to meet other Asian Australian lawyers with the aim of fostering a strong support network and to mentor other lawyers.

Veer Dhaliwal, ACT Branch President

Veer is our inaugural ACT AALA President, the first South Asian President and first Sikh to hold an executive position in AALA's history. By day, Veer is a Government Commercial Lawyer who specialises in IP, Probity, Procurement and Contracting. In the past, Veer has worked with various Private and Public sector clients e.g. UC, CSU, Monash University, Justice Connect, Department of Agriculture and Department of Defence. Veer is passionate about supporting mental health, social justice, empowering inclusive discussions, equality for all and Seva (A tenet of Sikhism) i.e. the service of others, which for us lawyers embodies itself in the form of Pro-bono services. In the past, Veer has been a University Coordinator (NSW) for Amnesty International Australia, a Secondee to the Pro Bono Clearing House at the Law Society and currently Veer is a National Culture and Identity Network Leader at Sparke Helmore Lawyers. When not working, in order to balance his built up stress and anxiety levels you can find Veer hiking, camping, snowboarding or riding a motorcycle. Veer speaks Punjabi, Hindi and English.

Rahul Bedi, ACT Branch Vice President

Rahul was admitted to practise in 2013. A Senior Associate at Maliganis Edwards Johnson, he primarily focusses on personal injury litigation and is keenly interested in the welfare of all Canberrans. He has been very active in the various functions of the ACT Law Society and contributes through his committee memberships. He has a particular interest in intersectionality and will promote these interests as Vice-President of the ACT Branch of the AALA.

John K Arthur, Executive Committee Member

John is a barrister at the Victorian Bar of over 30 years standing. An experienced advocate, his principal area of practice is general commercial litigation, including contract, sale of land, property, equity, professional negligence, corporations, insolvency, and succession. John is particularly interested in alternative dispute resolution including arbitration, adjudication and mediation, although his primary focus are trials and appeals. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and President and National Councillor of CIArb (Australia) and an ACICA fellow. John is a National Executive Committee member of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association (and previously on the Victorian State Committee of AALA).

John is keen to promote cultural, ethnic and gender diversity in the legal profession and in Australian society as a whole, to strengthen Australia’s engagement with Asia and the region, in business, in the law, culturally and societally and to build a deeper awareness of the region, its people, languages, and cultures.

He has published and presented many papers in Australia and internationally on topics in varied areas of law and practice, including contract, equity, practice and procedure, ADR and international arbitration. He is a co-author of Lexis publication, Civil Procedure Victoria, Lexis Nexis and Australian Uniform Evidence. He also contributes to other publications. John is also member of the IBA, the Law Institute of Victoria, and Asialink’s Chairman's Club.


Aruna Colombathantri, Executive Committee Member

Aruna is Managing Partner, Australian Public Accountants.  He is a CPA/ IPA Accountant and a Lawyer in Australia having overseas experience as a Chartered Accountant and a Lawyer. Due to his multidisciplinary background, he understands accounting and legal dynamics very well and is able to apply his own experience to identify the best solutions for Lawyers. 

Aruna has previously worked as an Investigator at the Law Institute of Victoria together with the Legal Services Board + Commissioner for over nine years. During this period,  he has investigated over 600 law practices throughout Victoria, ranging from small practitioners to top tier law firms. Aruna has worked at KPMG and  Ernst & Young overseas.

He is a passionate and accomplished Accountant as well as a Lawyer, with a strong reputation for delivering personalised, practical solutions for Lawyers.  Aruna is highly regarded for his hands-on approach and his willingness to provide independent advice on trust account compliance issues to Lawyers. Aruna possesses extensive experience in providing advice on trust account compliance, investigations and trust account audits.


Sining Wang, Executive Committee Member

Sining Wang is a solicitor with Hall & Wilcox, practising primarily in commercial litigation and commercial dispute resolution. Sining handles a broad range of litigious matters including insolvency matters, shareholder disputes, employment disputes, and general commercial disputes.

Sining is one of the youngest people to have been admitted to practice law in Victoria, having commenced his law degree at the University of Melbourne at the age of fifteen. Sining speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.


Olive Go, Executive Committee Member

Olive is currently a Senior Federal Prosecutor at the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. She has previously worked in various public sector agencies including Victoria Legal Aid, Office of the Police Ombudsman and also in private practice. 

Olive is passionate about Diversity and Inclusion. For further information, please see link to her LinkedIn profile
https://www.linkedin.com/in/olive-go-3638b282


Tuanh Nguyen, Immediate Past President

Tuanh is immediate past president of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association. Tuanh is also a Director in PwC Legal's Melbourne office. She specialises in advising Australian and international clients on initial and secondary equity capital raisings (acting as counsel for issuers and underwriters/lead managers), ASX listings, securities regulation (including ASX listing rule and corporate governance matters).

She also has over a decade of experience advising and assisting Australian and off-shore clients on private and public mergers and acquisitions, including public company takeovers, schemes and defences, private equity transactions, joint ventures and corporate restructuring.

Copyright 2015 Asian Australian Lawyers Association Inc.

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