Louise Taylor was sworn in as a magistrate on Monday, becoming the first Aboriginal judicial officer in the ACT.
Taylor is the former Deputy CEO of Legal Aid Act, has spent 15 years as a lawyer in the ACT, and becomes the eight permanent Magistrate sitting on the Magistrates Court.
She said during her speech that the appointment “feels a weighty responsibility, as it should.
“I won’t ever forget how hard it can be to be an advocate, the courage it can require and the toll it can take.”
Taylor spoke of the importance of visible Indigenous leaders, noting the mantra that “you can’t be what you can’t see,” according to the Canberra Times.
May it please the court! What a fine addition to the bench. Magistrate Louise Taylor, a role model for us all! https://t.co/m3g9iYeZ1D
— Teela Reid (@teelareid) August 10, 2018
“My Aboriginally, to steal a phrase, is not everything, but it’s not nothing,” she said.
A Kamilaroi woman, Taylor has chaired the Women’s Legal Centre ACT for over a decade, is an Associate of the UNSW Indigenous Law Centre, and member of the Indigenous Legal Issues Committee of the Law Council of Australia. She is a former specialist family violence prosecutor.
Announcing Taylor’s appointment last month, Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said she would significantly enhance access to justice in the Court.
“Ms Taylor will also bring the lived experience of an Aboriginal woman to the court,” he said.