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Lincoln Crowley Becomes Australia's First Indigenous Person Appointed As A Supreme Court Judge

Rachel Lang

| Last updated 

Lincoln Crowley Becomes Australia's First Indigenous Person Appointed As A Supreme Court Judge

Australia's first-ever Indigenous Supreme Court judge has been appointed to the bench in Queensland.

Warramunga man and Queen's Counsel barrister, Lincoln Crowley, was elevated to the position for the state's most senior court on the first day of Reconciliation Week.

The well-regarded lawyer and former crown prosecutor embarked on a law career after his high school vice-principal told him he would 'end up in jail' as that's what happens to people whose 'family is Aboriginal'. 

"I remember thinking, 'you wait and see, mate,'" Crowley told the Townsville Bulletin in 2018.


Well, Crowley sure showed him.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said both Crowley and his fellow newly-appointed Supreme Court judge Melanie Hindman both displayed years of expertise.

"They are both outstanding individuals who have a lot to offer the Supreme Court of Queensland," she said, as per Nine News.


"Mr Crowley has regularly appeared throughout Australia but particularly in Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian courts across a diverse range of matters, especially criminal trials and appeals," Palaszczuk said.

Crowley grew up in Charters Towers in Queensland and studied law in Townsville before joining the bar in Sydney in 2003. He was appointed as Queen's Counsel in 2018.

The historic Supreme Court appointment has been praised in legal circles.

Barrister Tony McAvoy, who became the first Indigenous Australian appointed senior counsel in 2015, welcomed the news.


"It has taken a long time for Indigenous people in Australia to be appointed to any superior court and it’s very significant that Lincoln Crowley is the first such appointment," he told The Guardian.

McAvoy also took the chance to slam Australia's court and justice system for their lack of Indigenous inclusion.

He added: "It is a matter of some significant shame and embarrassment for the legal profession in Australia that there are not more First Nations judicial officers through all levels of the court."

Law Council of Australia President Tass Liveris echoed McAvoy's sentiments in a statement.


"While clearly there is much work still to be done, the announcement marks a significant milestone," he said.

"Mr Crowley joins a distinguished group of First Nations judges and magistrates who make a significant difference to the Australian community, legal profession and justice system."

He added: "It is fortuitous timing indeed that this announcement occurs at the start of National Reconciliation Week, which celebrates the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This is a move in the right direction for the Australian justice system and our society.”

Crowley will join the bench on June 13.

Featured Image Credit: 8 Petrie Terrace/Lincoln Crowley. Brian Jackson / Alamy Stock Photo.

Topics: News, Australia

Rachel Lang
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