Queensland has 34 not-for-profit community legal centres (CLCs) dotted across the state.
They have a long, established history of harnessing volunteer support and providing pro bono legal advice and assistance to society’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable people and communities.
Volunteering Queensland – the state’s chief non-profit volunteer and community engagement organisation – estimates that as many as 700,000 of the state’s 5.18 million people give freely of their time each year to make an extraordinary impact on the people, communities and environments in which they live.
Many of these are lawyers.
As part of this week’s Queensland Law Week (May 18-24) and National Volunteer Week (May 17-23) celebrations, QLS Proctor is featuring some of the many selfless members of the profession who regularly give back to their local communities.
Aunty Kathleen Wincen – Solicitor for the Seniors Legal and Support Service team at TASC National
Aunty Kathleen Wincen is an extremely proud Budjiti woman who was born in Quilpie and raised in the red dirt of her ancestral country of Currawinya, in South West Queensland.
Aunty Kath provides invaluable contributions to her organisation and, of course, to the entire community legal sector as a Traditional Owner, a mother, grandmother, an Aunty, a sister, a niece, a teacher, colleague, mentor, university tutor and friend. She holds space for all of these roles with grace and integrity, as a lawyer in the Seniors Legal and Support Service team at TASC National. Aunty Kath truly is a leader in her community, and in particular, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
Kathleen’s passion for her role as a lawyer, and expert knowledge on the intricacies of supporting First Nations people and communities, make her such a valuable part of the Community Legal Sector.
She is generous with her time and knowledge sharing and dedicated to providing culturally appropriate and empowering advice and representation services to those most in need, ‘particularly our old people who deserve our best’. She says she is passionate about empowering our older community at a time in their lives when they need the most support and someone to listen with respect.
Aunty Kath’s resilience and warm-hearted nature really are a credit to her. Before beginning her journey as a solicitor, she had an inspiring career in both State and Federal government roles and Queensland Parliament. She was a small business owner and had extensive experience in private practice before moving back ‘home’ to become a full-time carer for her mother.
Aunty Kath speaks so fondly of her beautiful Mum, and of her time caring for her before she passed and what that meant to her- a calling to fulfil a cultural role as the oldest daughter in her family and the lessons she learned about resilience, strength, and love both as a daughter and a mother. She speaks of her mother’s storytelling and humility; her courage and her unwavering determination to do the right thing even when it is the hard thing- it is clear to see that she is her mother’s daughter.
On top of this, Aunty Kath has two degrees. Despite not finishing high school due to severe bullying, she completed a Bachelor of Arts and completed her law degree while battling through her journey with cancer. She is now raising a beautiful family with her husband in Toowoomba and practising as a lawyer after a 14-year journey to her admission in the Supreme Court of Brisbane 3 years ago.