Aunty Donna Nelson receives ALA Civil Justice Award
[by Karyn Lemon]
Aunty Donna Nelson receives the ALA's 2023 Civil Justice Award from barrister Stella Gold.
Dja Dja Wurrung, Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara woman Aunty Donna Nelson was presented with the Australian Lawyers Alliance’s (ALA) 2023 Victoria Civil Justice Award recognising her determination to hold organisations to account for her daughter’s death in custody.
The annual ALA Civil Justice Award recognises individuals or organisations who have displayed an outstanding commitment to the pursuit of justice.
“Aunty Donna is a very deserving winner of our Civil Justice Award this year,” said ALA State President, Mr Lachlan Fitch. “Her determination to ensure the coroner investigated the death of her daughter Veronica Nelson resulted in the disclosure of a multitude of systemic failures within the criminal justice system.
“None of this negligence would have been exposed had Aunty Donna not pressed the Coroners Court to examine her daughter’s death by way of an inquest.
“The damming evidence revealed by the inquest means changes will be made to the way Indigenous people are treated by the criminal justice system, and the government will reform the state’s bail laws. These critical reforms are a direct result of Aunty Donna’s strength and determination to see the system held to account.”
The state government made changes to the Bail Act in 2018 in response to the 2017 Bourke Street massacre.
“Back in 2017 the ALA and many other legal groups warned that the proposed changes to bail laws would be harmful and unfortunately, that has proven to be the case with the death of Veronica Nelson,” said Mr Fitch.
“The harm caused by the ‘tough on crime’ bail laws has disproportionately impacted First Nations people and the consequences have been tragic.
Previous winners of the Victoria Civil Justice Award include a mix of individuals and organisations such as Victoria Legal Aid, Apryl Day, Lex Lasry AM, Julian McMahon AC SC, The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and The Law and Advocacy Centre for Women.
Aunty Donna was announced as the recipient of this award today at the ALA Victoria Conference at Cape Schanck.
Victorian chief commissioner apologises for treatment of Indigenous people by police at Yoorrook inquiry [Dan Oakes, ABC] In a statement to Victoria's Indigenous truth-telling inquiry, the Yoorrook Justice Commission, Shane Patton said the Indigenous community's over-representation in the justice system was "unacceptable" and pledged that Victoria Police would take action to address it.
What First Nations Australians think of King Charles III's coronation [Carly Williams, ABC] As the late Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at London's Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, another world away in Central Australia, Arrernte elder Patricia Miller, aged 5 at the time, and her schoolmates dressed in yellow crepe paper for a special demonstration on an Alice Springs football oval.
Aurukun artists join Australian elite [by Liz Inglis] Two senior artists from Aurukun Shire Council’s Wik and Kugu Arts Centre have been recognised nationally after being chosen as finalists in prestigious art awards.