Today’s Solutions: November 28, 2022

Australia celebrates the appointment of the first Indigenous judge to preside over the nation’s superior court, Barrister Lincoln Crowley QC.

Crowley, who was appointed to the supreme court of Queensland, is a highly regarded barrister and former crown prosecutor. He first made Queen’s Counsel in 2018, breaking an important barrier for First Nations people in the country.

Crowley is a Warramunga man, and grew up in Charters Towers, near Townsville. He studied law at James Cook University.

“It has taken a long time for Indigenous people in Australia to be appointed to any superior court and it’s very significant that Lincoln Crowley is the first such appointment,” says Tony McAvoy, the first Indigenous Australian to be appointed senior counsel.

“It is a matter of some significant shame and embarrassment for the legal profession in Australia that there are not more First Nations judicial officers through all levels of the court,” McAvoy adds.

“I have watched Lincoln rise through his career and he’s always struck me as a very compassionate person and a fantastic lawyer and it comes as no surprise to me that the attorney-general of Queensland has appointed him to this position.”

The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk echoes McAvoy’s delight at Crowley’s appointment, saying that it is a historic event and “hopefully the sign of many more to come.”

The state’s attorney-general, Shannon Fentiman, adds that “the importance of ensuring that our judicial officers represent the diversity of our community cannot be understated. This appointment is significant, not only for First Nations Queenslanders but for the Queensland justice system.”

Crowley has accomplished above and beyond what others believed he could achieve. He shared with the Townsville Bulletin in 2018 that when he was in private school, his deputy principal once told him: “Your family is Aboriginal, aren’t they? They’re the type that ends up in jail.”

“He was picking on me and trying to put me down, basically saying I had no prospects in the future and [jail is] where I was going to end up,” Crowley recalls. “I remember thinking, ‘you wait and see, mate’.”

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