Today, Thursday 4 August, marks National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.
It’s a day to celebrate First Nations children, and recognise the birthdays of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were taken from their families at a young age, without knowing their birthday – the Stolen Generations.
On this day and going forward, Carter Newell is excited to be developing initiatives to champion the rights and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We know that success is driven through strength in diversity, and we recognise that having a culture that cultivates and supports diversity and inclusion is instrumental in the firm’s success. As well as working very hard to maintain a diverse and respectful workplace which pursues excellence in everything we do, we are committed to being good corporate citizens with a strong sense of social justice.
We are committed to respecting and honouring the stories, cultural diversity, traditions and living cultures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through our ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which strengthens our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, stakeholders, and organisations.
Understanding the key elements contained in the RAP, those being relationships, respect and opportunities, is now an integral part of our strategy at Carter Newell and one that is strongly supported by our staff. The adoption of our RAP and the activities outlined therein provides staff with the opportunity to grow their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and protocols, and participate in related initiatives and events.
In September 2021, representatives from Carter Newell and Queensland Law Society, as part of its LawLink program, took part in a yarning circle with students from Mable Park State High School (MPSHS). As a result of this meeting, Carter Newell has continued to work with MPSHS, which has led to the creation of a work experience program for Year 12 students.
Year 12 student Ehla with the firm’s Managing Partner, Paul Hopkins.
This work experience program offers hands-on experience of a ‘day-in-the-life’ of working at a law firm. The program enables the students to see first-hand the diverse roles at Carter Newell by exposing students to a range of different areas of the firm, including legal practices, administration, marketing and people and culture. We intend to offer this opportunity through our Sydney and Melbourne offices in the near future, and a number of our key corporate and insurer clients have expressed an interest in becoming involved.
Carter Newell will support and improve the pathway through education into employment for Indigenous Australians and foster strong relationships with education facilities. As Carter Newell Managing Partner Paul Hopkins said: “It is so important for us to be supporting these students and providing them with opportunities to experience the legal profession. We hope that one day one of these students may work within the legal industry.”
A recent student provided feedback on this program:
“I enjoyed having conversations with the staff about how they got to where they are and working with the marketing team. Working in this environment has definitely grown my communication and people skills which I value a lot and am very thankful for. This opportunity was amazing.”
We are continuing to develop ongoing relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations in our community, which builds awareness of cultural diversity for our staff and maximises our collective cultural intelligence, tolerance and understanding.
Learn more about National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.