Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 21, 2023


Aboriginal Law Student Mentoring Program

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (15:18): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister please inform the council about the 2022 end of year celebration for the Aboriginal Law Student Mentoring Program?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:18): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in this area, a matter that crosses a couple of my portfolio areas in terms of the area of Attorney-General and Aboriginal affairs. At the end of last year, I was very fortunate to be invited to attend once more—after having attended a number of times—the Aboriginal Law Student Mentoring Program end of year function.

This program is aimed at providing mentorship and support for Aboriginal law students in their studies and professional development. The program matches Aboriginal law students with experienced lawyers who provide guidance, advice and support through the Law School journey and beyond. The objective of the program is to increase the number of Aboriginal lawyers in South Australia and to provide opportunities for Aboriginal law students to build relationships with the legal community and gain a better understanding of the legal profession.

This mentoring program is well known for its successes. Over a number of years, I have seen the positive outcomes of this program as year on year multiple students engaged in the program are successfully graduating.

As is custom at these events, there is an opportunity to hear a few words from each of the graduates from the Aboriginal Law Student Mentoring Program, and it is a highlight of these speeches to hear the thanks and the level of fondness each student has for their mentor over their journey and vice versa. This, in my view, is testament to the authentic relationship that has been developed over a number of years from students being involved in this program and from those who act as mentors themselves.

This year two graduates: Cindy D'Angelo, graduating from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Laws, whose mentor was Magistrate Toni Vozzo of the Magistrates Court, and Mikeyli Hendry, graduating from the University of Adelaide also with a Bachelor of Laws, whose mentor was Lynn Valentine, a senior solicitor at the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement. I congratulate both of the students who are graduating as part of the Aboriginal Law Student Mentoring Program and look forward to following their progress in the legal community.