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Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 404. Updated Tuesday, 08 April 2014

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Court's reconciliation move Australian first

The Federal Circuit Court has adopted a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which has been launched in Sydney by the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis.

The RAP is the first to be developed by an Australian court.

Chief Judge, John Pascoe said he hoped the initiative would pave the way for courts across Australia to question what part they could play in reconciliation.

Federal Circuit Court Judge and the only Indigenous man to sit on a Federal court bench, Judge Matthew Myers said the new RAP was a significant achievement for the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and an historical moment in Australia’s reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

“This act of reconciliation is one that brings Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians together in a meaningful way to overcome divisions and inequality in health, life-expectancy, literacy, numeracy, income, incarceration rates and general living standards,” he said

A-G launches Action Plan

Reconciliation Australia Co-Chair, Tom Calma described the RAP and other FCC initiatives as “a welcome change to the Australian justice system’s historic neglect of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”.

“The Federal Circuit Court has taken the time to widely consult with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and legal services in a way that I do not believe has ever happened before and the result is a document that will challenge every other court in the land to emulate it,” Dr Calma said.

The Indigenous Access to Justice Committee, chaired by Cairns-based Judge Josephine Willis, consulted with legal services working directly with the communities as well as health services, family violence prevention units and community welfare services.

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