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First indigenous lawyer appointed to federal court

First indigenous lawyer appointed to federal court

Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin yesterday (8 December) welcomed the appointment of Australia's first Indigenous Commonwealth judicial…

Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin yesterday (8 December) welcomed the appointment of Australia's first Indigenous Commonwealth judicial officer.

A Gadigal/Wiradjuri man, Matthew Myers will be sworn in as a Federal Magistrate of the Sydney registry in January.

"Mr Myers brings an in-depth understanding of family law to the Court; his cultural background will also make an important contribution to the diversity of the Court," McClelland said.

Myers was one of 89 candidates considered for appointment to the Federal Magistrates Court by the advisory panel for Federal Magistrates Court appointments, comprising Chief Federal Magistrate John Pascoe AO CVO, the Hon Susan Morgan and a senior official of the Department.

Myers hopes to be seen as a role model for young Indigenous people considering law as a career.

"This appointment will encourage and inspire Indigenous youth to take on leadership roles and make a positive contribution to the lives of all Australians", Macklin said.

McClelland also announced a further three appointments to the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court yesterday.

Kirsty Macmillan SC and Anne Rees SC were appointed as judges of the Family Court and Ronald Curtain joined Myers as a Federal Magistrate.

"All candidates were selected from the advisory panel reports that were prepared in response to public notices calling for expressions of interest and nominations," said McClelland.

The advisory panel for the Family Court appointments, comprising Chief Justice Diana Bryant, the Hon Ian Callinan AC, the Hon Richard Chisholm AM and a senior official of the Attorney-General's Department, assessed a total of 60 candidates for the roles.

Macmillan was appointed to the Melbourne registry and Rees to the Sydney registry. Both take up their appointments later this month.

"The appointments to the Federal Magistrates Court will enable the Court to rebalance its family law workload, after a number of experienced magistrates were assigned more migration work at the beginning of the year," McClelland said.

Curtain has been appointed to the Melbourne registry and, like Myers, will take up the role in January 2012.

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