AustLII Home | Databases | WorldLII | Search | Feedback

Queensland Judicial Scholarship

You are here:  AustLII >> Databases >> Queensland Judicial Scholarship >> 2015 >> [2015] QldJSchol 41

Database Search | Name Search | Recent Articles | Noteup | LawCite | Author Info | Download | Help

Fraser, The Honourable Hugh --- "Speech delivered at the NAIDOC Week flag raising ceremony QEII Courts of Law, Brisbane (QSC)" [2015] QldJSchol 41

Last Updated: 16 July 2015

Hugh Fraser JA (as Acting Chief Justice)

Speech delivered at the NAIDOC
Week flag raising ceremony
QEII Courts of Law
Law Courts Complex Forecourt

6 July 2015

I too would like to thank Uncle Joe Kirk for his Welcome to Country and respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which this event is taking place. I would also like to acknowledge the Elders both past and present

I acknowledge the dignitaries and guests here today including:

It gives me great pleasure to join you here today for the raising of the flags, marking the beginning of the celebrations here of NAIDOC Week 2015.

This is the fourth year that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags are proudly raised on these poles for one week, to fly alongside the Australian and Queensland flags.

There was not always space here for this to happen. For some years, in the previous Supreme and District Court Law Courts Complex, during NAIDOC week only two flags had the space to fly: the Aboriginal, and Australian flags. A few years ago a request for the possibility of organising two extra flag poles was raised by Justin Power, our MC here today. The then Chief Justice, now His Excellency the Governor, Paul De Jersey AC, agreed with the idea and as a result we can now respectfully acknowledge and raise both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags at the same time together with the Australian and the Queensland flags.

This proud moment is a good opportunity to reflect on the significance of these flags to all of us, and the elements of our identity that they represent.

The image of the four flags side-by-side across the beautiful Queensland winter sky speaks to a united Queensland. It is an image that says: we are united in diversity, we are proud of our shared cultures, and we are all Queenslanders.

Despite the sense of togetherness generated by this symbol of unity, many of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fellow Queenslanders still experience a disadvantage that contrasts starkly with this sense of unity.

Those who work in the justice system are of course conscious of this disadvantage and see its impacts on a daily basis. As part of an increasingly unified and proudly diverse state, our justice system must view this as a challenge and respond accordingly.

Queensland’s Murri Courts, Indigenous Sentencing Lists and the Community Justice Groups are an important part of the courts’ response, and the courts continue to work to develop further relevant responses.

Beyond such initiatives there lies a fundamental assurance for Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It is that in Queensland our courts are committed to equality of treatment before the law. That commitment recognises that there are different needs within the community. Our courts are flexible enough to provide equal treatment under the law whilst responding innovatively to unique issues.

NAIDOC week celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ contributions in all aspects of Australian life. As members of Queensland's justice community we must acknowledge the significant contribution of Indigenous people working within Queensland's justice system. Particular acknowledgement must go to the Elders and Respected Members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, who generously give their time to serve our community and strengthen our justice system by advancing social justice and reconciliation in the courts.

I wish you all a happy and memorable NAIDOC week, acknowledging and celebrating the great historical and cultural importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in this State, and the Country we live in today.

Thank you for attending this special event today and I look forward to sharing morning tea with you.

AustLII: Copyright Policy | Disclaimers | Privacy Policy | Feedback