Law Council announces indigenous legal professional award winner

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Eddie Cubillo was awarded the National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year over the weekend, along with Alison Whittaker, who took out the award for the National Indigenous Law Student of the year, at the 2015 National Indigenous Legal Conference dinner on Saturday.

The winners were selected by a judging panel comprised of Justice Stephen Southwood QC, Supreme Court of the Northern Territory; professor Simon Rice OAM, Australian National University; professor Megan Davis, University of NSW; and professor Mick Dodson AM, Australian National University.

“Tonight’s winners are outstanding contributors to both Indigenous Australia, and Australia more broadly,” said Law Council president Duncan McConnel.

Cubillo, who did a stint as the anti-discrimination commissioner of the Northern Territory and as chair of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, is currently executive officer of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.
“Eddie’s dedication, passion and ability in advocating for Indigenous rights is renowned. He is powerful advocate on behalf of his people,” McConnel said.

“It is a real pleasure to be involved in this award on behalf of the Law Council and to see a professional of Eddie’s quality acknowledged.”

Whittaker, a fifth-year Law and Communications undergraduate degree student at the University of Technology in Sydney, has been involved in a number of community roles, including secretary of NSW Reconciliation Council, as consultant and presenter on the National Roundtable for Indigenous Youth Suicide Prevention, and has volunteered as a paralegal at the Aboriginal Legal Service.

“Alison’s academic performance, her myriad community roles, and her inspiring ambitions all contributed to make her richly deserving of this award,” said McConnel.

“I sincerely hope the award and prize money will assist Alison in pursuing her studies and achieving her goal of promoting broader justice for Indigenous peoples in their interactions with the law.”