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  • 14 May 2021 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    The National Mentoring Program

    On Wednesday 5 May, the Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth branches of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association simultaneously launched the 2021 National Mentoring Program. The Adelaide and ACT branches hosted their launch events earlier on 30 April 2021. 

    The National Mentoring Program is an annual Program, coordinated by the National Executive Team and works with each State Branch and local firms to run the state-based program. This year's National Executive Coordinator was Jessica Teoh, State President of the South Australian Branch. The Program connects those within the same state and encourages relationship building between all participants and the wider legal profession, fostering a creative and meaningful connection with AALA.

    Due to COVID, the 2020 Mentoring Program did not occur but it was apparent that the demand for the 2021 Mentoring Program was high! The energy at each launch was positive and each branch thanks their local sponsor and all attendees. 


    The Sydney Launch

    Particular thanks goes to Herbert Smith Freehills, Sydney, for their unwavering support of the Sydney Committee and the Mentoring Program. Each year AALA is thankful for the support we receive from Herbert Smith Freehills. The level of commitment demonstrated by your practitioners and Diversity and Inclusion team always shows a proven and genuine commitment to supporting cultural diversity in the legal profession. We particularly thank Madeleine Motion and Sunny Li, and Christine Tran who coordinated and opened the Sydney Launch on behalf of Herbert Smith Freehills.

    The Sydney Launch was conducted to current COVID-restrictions and accordingly, we welcomed 50 of our Mentor and Mentees. Our guests heard from Christine Tran and the NSW President, Marija Gurlica.

    Some words shared by Marija Gurlica:

    "...The Asian Australian Lawyers Association brings people together who share a story about coming to and growing up in Australia, whether you are foreign qualified and have recently moved as an adult, or like me, you are a second/third generation Australian who has found your way somehow. As much as we can discuss our experiences as impediments or as intergenerational baggage, our experiences, our skills, our wisdom is a privilege and this is what I want everyone to take home with them tonight.

     Your bilingual, trilingual tongue is the privilege to communicate through communities. Your front door syndrome experienced as a child is your ability to adapt and thrive. Your in-depth, cultural understanding of your heritage and your history, has armed you with a level of compassion and empathy that cannot be taught in a class room.

    The greater diversity we can welcome and most importantly, retain in the legal profession today means we will have universities, workplaces, judiciaries and legislatures that reflect the community they serve.

    An old line, but a good line is this: you cannot be, what you cannot see. The legal profession is undergoing a shift, albeit slow, we are progressing and the progress cannot continue unless we have an internal shift towards embracing all that we are and all who we serve...

    AALA believes that this Mentoring Program is one small way we can contribute to this internal shift, connecting like-minded professionals to pass on wisdom, provide support and most importantly share stories."


    Special thanks to all the Committee Members for their commitment to the Program, particularly Stefanie Cheong, Vijhai Utheyan, William Zhou, Gillian Woon and Wai Kaey Soon


  • 10 May 2021 3:07 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    AALA, the Asian Law Centre and the Melbourne China Law Society at the University of Melbourne - ‘Law in Asia – A Comparative Approach’

    The AALA is proud to be collaborating with the Asian Law Centre and the Melbourne China Law Society at the University of Melbourne to present ‘Law in Asia – A Comparative Approach’ – a panel discussion featuring Dr Hop Dang and Professor Andrew Godwin of the University of Melbourne and Stephanie Cameron, a Senior Associate at Ashurst,

    The panel will compare and contrast laws and ways of doing business in Australia and other Asian jurisdictions, providing students with an opportunity to learn about cultures and practices of those markets, which are becoming increasingly important to and interconnected with the Australian legal market.

    This event will be conducted us via Zoom at 6:30 pm on Thursday 13 May 2021. The dial-in details are as follows:

    Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android

    Password: 5iEpu3

    Or join by phone:

    Dial (Australia): +61 3 7018 2005 or +61 2 8015 6011

    Dial (US): +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 876 9923

    Dial (Hong Kong, China): +852 5808 6088 or +852 5803 3730

    Dial (UK): +44 203 481 5240 or +44 131 460 1196

    Meeting ID: 827 876 9174

    International numbers available 

    Or join from a H.323/SIP room system:

    Dial:8278769174@zoom.aarnet.edu.au

    or SIP:8278769174@zmau.us

    or 103.122.166.55

    Meeting ID: 8278769174

    Password: 478517

    If you have any queries, please email us at vic@aala.org.au

    We look forward to seeing you at the event.

    Kind regards,

    Asian Australian Lawyers Association


  • 25 Apr 2021 4:17 AM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    AALA Anzac Day Reflection - 25 April, 2021

    The ANZAC spirit is a diverse and inclusive one. Observed annually on 25 April, Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces (in Gallipoli) during World War I. It now commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations”.

    World War I, coming shortly after Federation, helped to forge Australia’s sense of national identity as a new nation, which came to be defined by courage and mateship and to be seen as the land of the ‘fair go’. People of all races banded together wearing the same uniform, fighting side by side at the front lines and behind enemy lines to protect the place they called home.

    Despite the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 and the Commonwealth Defence Act 1909, two pieces of Commonwealth legislation that sought to protect Australia's European heritage, there was considerable diversity amongst the diggers, including Chinese, Russians, Greeks, Romanians, Finns, Brazilians, Filipinos and Indians. Further, 1,000 Indigenous Australians served in World War I and around 70 fought at Gallipoli.

    It should be acknowledged that Asian Australians played an important part in the ANZAC story and were awarded five Distinguished Conduct Medals (DCM), fourteen Military Medals (MM), two Belgian Croix de Guerre and three Mentions in Dispatches. In proportion to their numbers, this represents a much higher ratio of gallantry awards per head than the rest of the Australian Imperial Force.

    There are many stories of distinction; five of which are below.

    • Caleb James Shang was the most decorated Australian of Chinese descent in World War I. Born in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, he was first awarded the DCM for bravery and then a Bar to his DCM (in effect, a second DCM) as well as the MM. He was cited for ‘conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on numerous occasions’;
    • William “Billy” Sing, born in Clermont, Queensland, was awarded the DCM for his actions as a sniper at Gallipoli, Mentioned in Dispatches for gallantry and awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre;
    • Corporal William Loo Long was born in Marsden, New South Wales. He was first awarded the MM with the recommendation for the award stating that he ‘has always shown considerable dash and courage’ and, later on, a Bar to his MM (in effect, a second MM);• Sergeant Leslie Kew-Ming, born in St Arnaud, Victoria, served in Belgium, was wounded in action and awarded the MM. He later volunteered to serve for Australia during World War II by becoming a machine-gun instructor;
    • Leslie Oliver Langtip (originally, “Lang Tip”), born in Tarraville, Victoria, served with three of his brothers in World War I. He was awarded the DCM for bravery, with the citation for his award reading: ‘… this non-commissioned officer gave valuable assistance in the capture of a field gun, and showed great initiative and courage.

    We remember in times of peace that our cultural diversity has become a significant element within Australian community. We are proud to remember the long-standing contribution that Asian Australians have made in every area of Australian life, including during times of war, conflict and peacekeeping operations.

    Asian Australian Lawyers Association

  • 21 Apr 2021 3:46 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    VOLUNTEER FOR AALA - PLEASE APPLY!

    We are delighted to announce that we are now recruiting for the following volunteer position(s):

    AALA National Finance Officer - Download Position Description

    If you are interested in applying, please submit a CV and 1-page cover letter addressing your suitability in line with the position description to treasurer@aala.org.au by 6pm AWST Sunday 9 May 2021.

    We look forward to receiving your application!

    KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING: AALA MEMBERS' BLACKBOARD

    The AALA Members’ Blackboard is an interactive online discussion forum where members can post anything they would like to share with other members, such as:

    Job advertisements

    Expressions of interest for career opportunities

    Expressions of interest to assist with any particular areas of legal work

    Expressions of interest to collaborate with other practitioners

    Legal industry news

    Health and wellbeing issues

    Cultural diversity issues

    The AALA Members’ Blackboard can be accessed via the following link:

    https://padlet.com/secretary20/afdo2b01zulp2y9e


  • 07 Apr 2021 9:11 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    AALA is very pleased to announce that the Hon Diana Bryant AO QC is our new National Patron. Ms Bryant brings to this role an esteemed service to the Australian judiciary and Australian public life.

    From 2000 to 2004, Ms Bryant was the inaugural Chief Federal Magistrate of Australia, the head of the Federal Magistrates’ Court. From 2004 to 2017, she then served as the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, while also acting as Patron of the Women Lawyers Association from 2009 until her retirement as Chief Justice. She has supported and contributed to the development of family law systems in Singapore and Indonesia. She is the current President of the Graduate Union of the University of Melbourne. In 2012, she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to the judiciary and to the law, particularly to family law policy reform and practice, through the establishment of the Federal Magistrates Court, and to the advancement of women in the legal profession”.

    Diana Bryant’s credentials and abilities will significantly assist AALA as it continues to broaden its benefits to members, build its legal policy and advocacy capabilities and contribute to advancing cultural diversity in the law.

    We are also very pleased to announce that the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, who served as AALA’s National Patron from 2013 to 2021, is now our Emeritus Patron. Michael Kirby is an international jurist, educator and former judge. He was a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1996 to 2009.

    Mr Kirby’s presence at many of our formal events and member gatherings, and as our inaugural National Patron has inspired and energised our activities since AALA was founded in Victoria in 2013. AALA now has seven State and Territory Branches across Australia and plans to open a branch in the Northern Territory in 2021. Mr Kirby will continue to support AALA in his capacity of Emeritus Patron.

    AALA is delighted to have both the powerful presence of Diana Bryant and continuing support of Michael Kirby. Their joint wisdom and experience will be invaluable for AALA.

    AALA Press release 7 April, 2021

  • 07 Apr 2021 8:37 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    Inaugural AALA ACT Branch Networking Breakfast event

    On Friday, 26 March 2021, the ACT Branch held its inaugural Networking Breakfast event at East Row Speciality Coffee, Canberra. The cold Canberra morning soon turned warm as friendly faces, acquaintances, and peers were greeted by our hosts with a smile and a hot cup of coffee. Before we knew it, more than 30 people had come through the doors and the once quiet cafe was not so quiet anymore.

    Discussions ranged around everyone's work day ahead, the problems facing the legal sector and the importance of diversity in the legal profession. The event was attended by lawyers, members of parliament, and political leaders. As discussions grew, so did everyone's networks. Our President, Veer Dhaliwal took a moment to thank everyone who attended and contributed to what can be best described as a great event and a great turnout. The need for having a community such as this in the ACT was clearly demonstrated by the attendees and as the AALA ACT Branch continues to grow, we endeavor to host more events such as this which will stand for the ideals of diversity. (Author: Andrew Chakrabarty, ACT publicity officer)


  • 20 Mar 2021 6:35 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    VOLUNTEER FOR AALA - PLEASE APPLY!

    We are delighted to announce that we are now recruiting for the following volunteer positions:

    2 positions x AALA National Media and Policy Officer - Download Position Description

    If you are interested in applying, please submit a CV and 1-page cover letter addressing your suitability in line with the position description to secretary@aala.org.au by 6pm AWST Sunday 4 April 2021.

    We look forward to receiving your application!

    KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING: AALA MEMBERS' BLACKBOARD

    The AALA Members’ Blackboard is an interactive online discussion forum where members can post anything they would like to share with other members, such as:

    Job advertisements

    Expressions of interest for career opportunities

    Expressions of interest to assist with any particular areas of legal work

    Expressions of interest to collaborate with other practitioners

    Legal industry news

    Health and wellbeing issues

    Cultural diversity issues

    The AALA Members’ Blackboard can be accessed via the following link:

    Log on to Blackboard


  • 16 Mar 2021 2:11 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    You’re invited to join AALA’s 2021 National Digital Events Series event 

    Employee/Employer rights and responsibilities in the Covid era - 

    Thursday 15 April 2021 from 6.00pm-7.30pm -

    In person @ Maurice Blackburn, Brisbane and online

    Our first event for 2021 (not to be missed!) will see Dan Chen hosting a panel discussion with Dr Mellissa Naidoo and Giri Sivaraman exploring the medico legal landscape in light of our Covid vaccination roll-out. Please see your invitation below (or attached) for all of the details.

    Please note, you have to options to join this event:

    - In-person event: We have limited seats available in our Brisbane office. Click here to reserve your seat now (don’t forget to include your dietary requirements with your registration as light refreshments will be served)

    - Online event: Click here to register for the webinar


    AALA National Digital Event Series Employee Employer rights and responsibilities in the Covid era.jpg

  • 11 Mar 2021 11:00 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    Asian Australian Lawyers Association calls on the legal profession to “Choose To Challenge" - AALA Press Release, 12 March, 2021

    The Asian Australian Lawyers Association celebrates International Women’s Day 2021.

    Whilst celebrating the achievements of our female members and all other female legal practitioners, AALA calls on the legal profession to “Choose To Challenge”, in line with the 2021 IWD global theme.

    The Law Society of NSW’s 2019 National Profile of the Profession report found that in 2018, “for the first time in history”, female solicitors outnumbered male solicitors across Australia.1

    However, there is a stark underrepresentation of women at the law firm partnership level. The Australian Financial Review’s 2020 Law Partnership Survey found that female solicitors comprised just 30 per cent of the partnership at Australia’s large law firms.2

    The underrepresentation of women at senior levels is more pronounced at the Bar. In 2018-2019, the Law Council of Australia found that women comprised 32 per cent of juniorbarristers and only 18 per cent of senior barristers.3

    Moreover, at the Bench, the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration found that in 2020, women comprised 38.8% of judicial officers across the Commonwealth, State and Territory Courts, although that percentage had increased from the previous year.4

    Sexual harassment continues to be a significant problem in the legal profession, as in others sectors. A 2019 report from the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner (VLSB) found that from the participants surveyed, 36% of legal professionals have personally experienced sexual harassment whilst working in the Victorian legal sector, and that 61% of women and 12% of men have experienced sexual harassment whilst working in a legal workplace in Victoria.5

    Molina Asthana, AALA National Vice President, said: “The continued lack of gender equality at senior levels of the legal profession, coupled with the severe underrepresentation of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, is a barrier to access to justice and a legal system that is truly representative of the community.”

    “AALA calls on the legal profession to ‘Choose to Challenge’ the longstanding structural challenges that face women in the profession and beyond.”

    “In particular, AALA calls on the legal profession to address the substantial issues of sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination that too often are significant obstacles to women’s fulsome participation in the law and in our society.”

    “In this regard, AALA congratulates Grace Tame, 2021 Australian of the Year, for her courageous advocacy for legal and policy reform for survivors of sexual assault.”6

    MEDIA CONTACT: Molina Asthana by email 


  • 11 Mar 2021 10:40 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    Asian Australian Lawyers Association congratulates Magistrate Anthony Gett on his appointment as a Deputy Chief Magistrate of the Queesland Magistrates Court. 

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, the Honourable Shannon Fentiman today announced the appointment. Minister Fentiman stated that “Queensland’s judiciary, and by extension the community at large, is in very safe hands when you consider the talent and work ethos of people like Deputy Chief Magistrate Gett and Magistrate (Susan) Warrington" (who was also appointed today). 

    Both appointments were made after an extensive selection process involving the Judicial Appointments Advisory Panel, which includes representatives from the Queensland Law Society and the Bar Association of Queensland.

    Deputy Chief Magistrate Gett’s appointment begins formally on 12 March, 2021.

    To read the full media release  

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