Change the Record

The Change the Record Coalition today welcomed Prime Minister Turnbull’s announcement of $100 million of funding targeted at addressing family and domestic violence, but expressed disappointment that the package fails to prioritise essential legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s safety.

View Media Release


Queensland is one step closer to a charter of human rights, with the Palaszczuk Government committing to holding a parliamentary inquiry into how the state could adopt its own bill of rights.

CEO_ShaneDuffy_HRA4QLDOn Monday night 14/09/2015 our CEO Shane Duffy spoke the launch of the #HumanRights4QLD campaign at Parliament House. Mr Duffy highlighted some of the shocking human rights violations experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the benefits of using a human rights framework to shape future legislation to better protect the rights of all Queenslanders.

“We need to invest in the proactive rather than the reactive and to put resources on the ground.” Mr Duffy said.

At the launch on Monday Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad confirmed the great news that the government would move a motion to kick off the inquiry.

The move was welcomed by the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, which said Queenslanders basic rights remained unprotected under existing legislation.

Queensland is the only state in Australia with a one-house parliament which means there is a higher risk of rights breaches by the government and therefore more work to do in terms of rights protections.


Read more:



Anniversary - Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The 13 of September marks the anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which affirms the minimum standards for the survival, dignity, security and well-being of Indigenous peoples worldwide and enshrines Indigenous peoples’ right to be different.

The Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2007. This was the culmination of more than 20 years of negotiation between the Indigenous peoples and governments of the world. The Australian Government announced its support for the Declaration in 2009.

The Declaration is particularly significant because Indigenous peoples, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, were involved in its drafting.

“The Declaration is the most comprehensive tool we have available to advance and protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I use the Declaration as my guide as Social Justice Commissioner. It is the foundation upon which my agenda has been built.”

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda

Check these great resources for the Declaration from the Australian Human Rights Commission​:

#HumanRights #Indigenous


FASD Awareness Day

No alcohol  during pregnancy ‪#‎FASDAwarenessDay‬

Today is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day. The day puts a spotlight on the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy and the plight of families and individuals living with FASD. FASD is a disorder caused by maternal consumption of alcohol prior to a child’s birth.  This spectrum of disorders can leave affected individuals with wide ranging and varied behavioural and cognitive problems that often see them end up in the justice system rather than the health system.

FASD is a significant issue effecting many families in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. A recent House of Representatives Standing committee report says Indigenous children fall through cracks of education system and later land in prison as FASD is misdiagnosed or not treated.

The report recommended all governments work to adopt a justice reinvestment strategy in predominantly Indigenous communities as a more effective way to keep people out of prison and reduce inter-generational alcohol abuse.

View more:…/foetal-alcohol-syndrome-should…

Online FASD Resources:
For more information on FASD check out this web resource by the Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre


For more information on FASD or FASD Awareness Day, please visit:


Change the Record:
Join the ‪#‎ChangeTheRecord‬ campaign to call on Governments to adopt justice reinvestment strategies that tackle the root causes of imprisonment –


As at 7th September 2015  three new vacancies have been posted to our Job Vacancies page.

A further range of positions will be posted in the next 48 hours to include further Legal Practitioner and Para/Legal-Junior Legal Practitioner roles in Family & Civil Law in Brisbane, Maroochydore, Cairns, Toowoomba, and Charleville. To support these new roles, an additional administrative role will be created in Toowoomba.  In Mackay another new role in all jurisdictions (Family, Civil and Criminal laws) will be advertised for someone with ideally two years post-admission experience.  Our Cairns role is for an experienced practitioner with confidence to circuit to communities and provide a significant array of Family law services.

Visit our Job Vacancies page for all the details


ATSILS Careers


ATSILS CEO ImageThe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (QLD) Ltd supports the campaign calling for the introduction of a Human Rights Act for Queensland. Without an Upper House in Queensland a Bill of Rights could act as a vital safety net to prevent human rights breaches and  to ensure the government considers, justifies and reports on the human rights implications of their actions.

ATSILS CEO Shane Duffy spoke to The Guardian Australian about the importance of a Bill of Rights for Queensland and the significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“What it does is provide an opportunity to put a litmus test over any proposed bill that comes before parliament that disproportionately or adversely impacts on Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people,” he told Guardian Australia.

Mr Duffy pointed to changes by the former Newman government to juvenile justice legislation, removal of detention as a punishment of last resort, and bail laws, as examples of such laws. He said a human rights act would need to be one with “a little bit of bite”.

Now that the Labor Party has confirmed its commitment to the introduction of a Human Rights Act the time is right to work together to convince the Queensland Government to Act Now!

View full article:


Support the campaign for a Human Rights Act for Queensland

Instragram @humanrights4qld


Congratulations to Juergen Kaehne who was recently elected as Co-Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Law Pathways Network in North Queensland.

Juergen is one of ATSILS specialist Family Law Solicitors based in Cairns and he has been a valued member of our legal team for over 6 years.

As Co-Chair of the network Juergen will be working with key providers in the Family Law system, including the Federal Circuit Court, to build stronger relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and other community agencies servicing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and people.

Commenting on his appointment Juergen said “The Federal Circuit Court judge in Cairns is a strong supporter of enhanced representation for Indigenous people, and I am privileged to Co-Chair the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Law Pathways Network.”

“I love practicing family law because the legal process is such that it helps to provide a better future for children; who are, after all, innocent parties in parental disputes.”

Juergen’s appointment is testament to his strong commitment to the delivery of innovative, highly professional legal services to ensure better outcomes for clients.

The Network is being piloted in the North Queensland region including Cape York and the Torres Strait before being rolled out across the state on a progressive basis.




More information on ATSILS Family Law Practice

Need legal assistance with Family Law matters? Contact us