Last year, I finally applied for a legal internship via The Aurora Native Title Internship Program; something I had always planned to do throughout my combined degrees, yet somehow never seemed to get around to it.
Justice statistics in the Northern Territory are startling. There is a vast discrepancy between the number of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people serving custodial sentences.
Land councils and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs organisations are employers of anthropologists.
When I realised that I had been given the opportunity to leave Sydney during one of the coldest and wettest winters in many years to spend five weeks in 30 degree Darwin, I was pretty excited.
‘Why would you work for the defence?’ the prosecutor demands to know across the bar table. ‘Representing drunks, rapists and wife beaters. Come work for the prosecution, we’re the good guys.’ He’s about my age, he’s smug, and he’s trying to put our client in jail. He smirks.
Aboriginal land rights and native title law are not considered mainstream areas of law and are therefore often overlooked as potential areas of practice by law students.
The state of Aboriginal affairs is impossible to avoid in the Northern Territory. Whilst throughout most areas of Southern Australia, one can happily ignore such issues, I found out quickly that few people in the Territory can or do.
Working for the Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA, www.naaja.org.au ) in Darwin for just over three months has been both a challenge and a privilege. Above all, it was an exciting and rewarding experience.
I first discovered the Aurora Project whilst I was studying for my final semester of a Bachelor of
Spending six weeks working in a Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) is enough time to realise just how much work there is to be done and how few hours there are in one day to get through it. The job of a lawyer at the NTRB is very diverse and rewarding.