by Louise Milligan
Published October 2020
Whatever you describe to another person is also a revelation of who you are and who you think you are. You cannot describe anything without betraying your point of view, your aspirations, your fears, your hopes. Everything.James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
It begins with a woman barely able to speak. The woman is me, and I am choking in my sleep. My partner mentioned it to me last spring – you know you stop breathing during the night, right? – and I shrugged, feigning disinterest in my body and its nocturnal patterns while thinking about a strange sensation that started a few years ago: visceral, physical dreams where my mouth would fill with peanut butter, the concrete-like spread sticking my molars and vocal cords together. More recently these dreams of choking have been tinged with COVID anxiety – I am sick, my dream self thinks, so I must stay away from others. I looked up the interpretation of these dreams and learnt that they signalled swallowing an unpleasant part of your life until it can no longer be seen, spoken of, or heard.
I start with her, with me, because you need to know whereof I speak. Although I would like to say that my writing is not about me, as the author it is inherently about me – my views, my opinions, my experience witnessing another writer’s work and the world from where I stand. This is particularly the case if we are to follow Jacques Derrida’s definition of witnessing:
‘I bear witness’ – that means: ‘I affirm (rightly or wrongly, but in all good faith, sincerely) that that was or is present to me, inspaceandtime (thus, perceptible) and although you do not have access to it, not the same access, you, my addressees, you have to believe me, because I am committed to telling you the truth, I am already committed to it, I tell you that I am telling you the truth. Believe me. You have to believe me.’
To believe me you have to know me, to know the space and time in which I have existed and continue to exist, and the lens through which I have perceived what was present. What is important to know is that I write this review as a Guringai woman, a survivor of sexual violence, and a lawyer who has worked with survivors of child sexual abuse for the last two years. I write from many other positions and identities as well, which, although I do not feel they are relevant to this piece, all inherently limit, shape and colour the perspectives I share. I keep all of this in the corner of my eye, hoping to fulfill what Derrida calls a necessary precondition to witnessing: being ‘sufficiently conscious of [oneself], sufficiently present to [oneself], to know what [one] is talking about’.
A Statue on the Edifice
Witness, the second book by ABC investigative reporter Louise Milligan, begins with a woman barely able to see.
Witness was written as a result of Milligan’s reporting on numerous high-profile child sexual abuse and sexual assault cases, most notably that of Cardinal George Pell. Milligan’s reporting on Pell led to the publication of her first book, the Walkley award-winning Cardinal, and ultimately to Milligan being called as a ‘witness of first complaint’ in Pell’s criminal trial. Pictured on the cover of Witness is Justitia, a ‘giant Lady of Justice sculpture on the court’s edifice’ who Milligan spots at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on the day of her testimony in Pell’s trial. Milligan outlines this experience in detail alongside the experiences of complainant-witnesses in other cases she has reported on. By including these testimonies in her book, as well as interviews with members of the legal profession, Milligan aims to expose the mechanisms of power within the criminal legal process that wound all those who encounter it.
Justitia, a Roman goddess, was introduced to Roman life by emperor Augustus as a representation of justice, one of the key virtues the Empire wished to associate with itself. Justitia is depicted in her usual way on the cover of Witness: blindfolded (so as to be impartial and objective) and holding both scales (to weigh evidence) and a sword (to be used offensively – enforcing judgment – and defensively – as a means of protection). While she appears on her own on the cover, in other places she is sometimes presented alongside Prudentia, who personifies reasoned, measured and cautious decision making.
In Witness, Milligan attempts to break through the concrete barriers of the Australian criminal legal system to speak truth – not the truth, but a truth, from her perspectives as a journalist reporting on sexual abuse and sexual assault trials, and as a witness in a criminal trial. From the introduction it is obvious that for Milligan, truth is deep frustration with the inability of courts to deliver justice for survivors: she notes from the outset that the system is ‘paternalistic, disappointing and bruising’, one that survivors come ‘away from…worse than when they went into it’.
Much like Justitia, who is not only affixed to the court building but a part of it, sculpted from the same materials, the barristers interviewed by Milligan and profiled throughout Witness are consciously and unconsciously influenced by the system they are tied up in. Milligan works very hard to ensure that readers do not see these barristers as ‘bad people’ – she states that one barrister is not a ‘villainous caricature’ – but the snippets of conversation and court transcripts demonstrate an important point: whether we are ‘good people’ or not, barristers and lawyers are key components of a brutal system. As Milligan points out, generally ‘people who work in this legal sphere will baulk at anyone who tries to rock their status quo’. This is reflected in the Solicitors Conduct Rules, which states that our ‘duty to the court and the administration of justice is paramount’ regardless of our personal ideas of justice. We are trained through many years of law school and decades of legal practice to follow and enforce the rules of the illegitimate authority of a colonial State; in New South Wales solicitors make an oath that we will ‘faithfully serve as such in the administration of the laws and the usages of the State’ and, in Queensland, swear our allegiance to the Queen ‘as lawful sovereign of Australia’. We bow down to the power of hierarchy and authoritarianism implicit in the law, and we take up our position within it.
As a lawyer it does not escape me that no matter how generous, compassionate, humble or deferential I am, it does not change the relationship of power between myself and my client, one that exists purely because of my title as a lawyer and my role in the system. It does not surprise me, then, that there appears to be little resistance to the illegitimate authority of the State within the legal profession. We all practice ‘cognitive dissonance’ – thinking we are fighting for justice, while being tied up with a system that, by its nature, is harmful and divisive.
My friend Jason likens joining the legal profession to signing up with The Flying Dutchman, a ship of undead sailors. As depicted in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, the sailors are picked up close to death and vow to spend one hundred years in service of the Dutchman, not knowing that eventually they will become part of the sea, covered in seaweed and barnacles, and then part of the ship itself. Much like the crew, over time we lawyers slowly lose more and more of ourselves without realising it, as we sink further into the system. Somedays, despite my relatively short time on the ship, I feel like Wyvern, the crew member shown as most consumed by the Dutchman. I struggle to pull myself off of the bulkheads, gasping out barely helpful instructions to newer arrivals. Like Justitia on the edifice, stone upon stone, I hold a great sword but am unable to swing it, unable to see or speak or feel or do anything other than stand guard over the system beneath me.
While reading Witness I read another account of the legal system in Professor Chelsea Watego’s Another Day in the Colony. In the chapter named ‘on racial violence, victims and victors’, Watego details her experience pursuing a racial discrimination claim through the Queensland Human Rights Commission and the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission. Watego states:
I had handed my sense of self-worth and wellbeing over to an obscure legal process, which I knew from the outset didn’t have the capacity to see the racial violence that I felt I had experienced, even with the evidence base and the argument.
It makes sense that Watego did not feel heard or seen by a colonial legal system that, in one of its first acts, invisibilised Aboriginal people and our connection to our lands by claiming the continent as terra nullius. This is a system that has continued to make invisible Aboriginal people through different violent means, sanctioning our removals from Country and our communities to institutions like missions, children’s homes, and prisons.
The violence of the legal system, particularly its adversarial aspects, are plainly described throughout Witness, mainly through interviews Milligan conducts with survivors who were also witnesses in the trial of their alleged perpetrator of sexual violence. Milligan and the survivors she interviews are understandably focused on the behaviour of defence barristers who cross-examined them during their respective trials. Milligan also speaks with Trevor Khan, a former criminal lawyer and politician who was recently appointed as a Magistrate in NSW. Khan describes the criminal trial as follows:
It is, by its nature, a form of combat…Combat involves the shedding of blood at some point by one side or the other. That may be a fundamental problem with our system of justice. But that’s the nature of it.
The complainant-witness accounts in Witness clearly demonstrate that the legal system we currently exist under is not constructed to merely witness someone’s testimony. As Derrida notes, ‘[t]hat “bearing witness” is not “proving” is a fact universally acknowledged in legal practice’. For all of the survivors interviewed in Witness, their testimony was just one piece of evidence to be weighed against other pieces of evidence, or, in the case of an adversarial trial, one more thing to be tossed from side to side by opponents in battle. Even in less adversarial settings like the ones experienced by Watego, and the ones I have navigated as a lawyer assisting survivors of abuse in institutions, the law is wielded as a means to protect the system from itself and to prevent a person from truly being heard. I remember sitting with clients who had records of being made wards of the state as children and placed onto Aboriginal missions, but struggled to access government redress payments as State governments decided whether or not they were responsible for the mission they clearly ran. What was meant to be a straightforward process, saving survivors from navigating more adversarial avenues, became yet another means of delaying, and in some cases – where survivors passed away before an answer was reached – avoiding even a gesture towards justice. The system was freed yet again from having to truly confront the violence it has perpetuated and continues to enact.
While some parts of the system grind to a halt, others speed up to an intolerable extent. When you are caught up in the pace demanded by the system, it feels impossible to slow down enough to witness, to hold a testimony, to sit at someone’s feet and let time stand still as Aunty Judy Atkinson implores us to, in order to properly hear the rhythms of a person’s mourning. How can we, if we are in the middle of battle, either attacking the opposition, or defending not only our client but ourselves, our perception of ourselves as lawyers? Some days at work I couldn’t even slow down enough to use the bathroom or eat lunch, let alone sit with people – myself and others – and provide them with the space they deserve.
While writing this review I spoke to my friend Aliyah on the phone. We went to law school together, where we met in a critical legal discussion group, but have not seen each other in a couple of years. She has been working as a criminal defence lawyer in a rural town, and as we were catching up our conversation drifted to how we cope in this profession. You know, she told me, I can’t think of a single lawyer I know doing this work that isn’t an alcoholic or dealing with a substance abuse problem. I hummed in agreement, remembering what my other friend Mina had told me about her partner’s colleagues – also criminal defence lawyers, also in a rural town – and how the cascade of empty bottles falling into the recycling bin on a Sunday would ring for a concerningly long time.
Some of Milligan’s professional interviewees mention this as well – the ‘drink[ing] too much’ as a way to escape the reality of their work. Many of the barristers Milligan interviews in Witness appear to lack what Gabor Mate calls emotional competence, involving ‘the capacity to feel our emotions’ and ‘the ability to express our emotions effectively’. According to Mate, emotional competence plays an essential role in healing and protecting the mind-body from stress. He observes that these skills are often lacking in a world where ‘the absence of emotion is the prevailing ethic… where rationality is generally considered to be the preferred antithesis of emotionality’.
The legal professionals in Witness reminded me of one of the lessons I internalised in my very first class at law school: working within the legal system – as a ‘professional’ – requires you to push subjectivity to the side. You are no longer a person with your own experiences that inform your actions and behaviour, and to be so is to be viewed as weak or out of control in a system that demands you be in control and objective at all times. This plagued me as a law student, and later lawyer, who has also survived sexual violence: I did not want to make my work all about me and my experiences, when it obviously was not, but I also wanted there to be space to hold the reality that ‘survivor’ and ‘lawyer’ are not mutually exclusive identities. Even in the most generous of workplaces, where we talked about vicarious trauma and were paid to debrief alone and with colleagues, I felt it was taboo to bring this part of me to work. If they know, I thought, then they will wonder how I could be doing this work if I, too, am broken, damaged, and traumatised. What would happen if the carefully created barrier between ‘victim’ and ‘professional’ began to crack? Of course, I am far from the only lawyer pondering these questions; as my therapist helpfully reminded me, many people drawn to this kind of work have experienced similar traumas.
Some of the barristers quoted in Witness make a case for the kind of objectivity and rationality required throughout the criminal legal process: under the NSW Prosecution Guidelines, prosecutors are required to ‘act independently and impartially, without regard to individual or sectional interests’; barristers have an obligation under the cab rank rule to take on any matter regardless of their personal feelings about their client; and as noted by one of Milligan’s interviewees, the judge must be ‘the objective measure, the umpire’ to keep everyone playing by the rules of the game. Milligan also interviews the mother of a complainant witness who wonders if a fear of being seen as unobjective prevented a judge from intervening in the ‘denigration’ of her daughter by the defence barrister. But ultimately, objectivity within the law is a mythical ideal. Barristers, prosecutors and judges, while attempting to be neutral, are interpreting rules and laws through their own limited perspectives, while the laws and rules themselves are created for a particular purpose as determined by the perspective of the legislature at the time. The Aborigines Protection Act 1909 (NSW), which, amongst other things, allowed the State-controlled Aborigines Protection Board to remove Aboriginal children from their families and ‘by indenture bind…the child…to be apprenticed to any master’, is a particularly stark example of how the objectives of the colonial project – to remove Aboriginal people from our lands, our culture, and our people in order to legitimise and expand the colony – have been and continue to be embedded in legislation.
I spoke with another friend, Effie, over coffee before work one day. Effie has been working as a lawyer on child sexual abuse cases for the last couple of years as well, and we discuss the way our work has changed us. You know that feeling, Effie asks, when someone is telling you something extremely upsetting but you can’t even let it in? That compartmentalisation is so concerning. It’s like, where has my empathy gone? This was my biggest fear when becoming a lawyer, a fear that was brought up again while reading some of the barristers’ comments in Witness: that in order to continue functioning and be able to do my job, I would lose the core part of me that can connect to my clients on a human level. I remember my first job after graduating, where I would attend boozy end of work drinks with young criminal lawyers, most of whom were white graduates of Group of Eight universities. They would tell me stories, often while slopping half of their schooner onto my shoes, that disparaged their Aboriginal clients for showing up late or coping with trauma by using drugs or alcohol. I don’t know what horrified me more, that these people, tasked with representing clients in matters where their liberty was at risk, had lost touch with the human experiences their clients were having, or that they never understood or connected these experiences at all. It seemed to me that with these lawyers there was a double distancing at play – a distancing through whiteness, and a distancing through profession.
I understand why Milligan, or her publishers, used Justitia on the cover of Witness – clearly, the visual provides a strong thematic starting point from which to unpack the failings of the so-called justice system. I assume we are also meant to see Milligan in this image of Justitia: an intrepid investigative reporter, she peeks out from beneath the blindfold, exposing what is truly there. What may be less clear at first glance is that the blindfold is still firmly placed over the other eye; for both Milligan and Justitia, justice remains constrained.
As I read Witness I kept waiting for Milligan to talk about us, particularly given that a report presented to the Royal Commission – the same Royal Commission that Milligan continuously references – states that Aboriginal children are not only over-represented in institutions of all forms, but were and are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse in those institutions. Or, if not that, then perhaps Milligan would talk about the specific challenges faced by Aboriginal witnesses, or provide the context of how our legal system came into being and has developed – a context that includes the colonisation of the continent and the murder, brutalisation and imprisonment of Aboriginal people so as to claim ownership over our bodies and our lands.
About halfway through the book I realised, feeling somewhat foolish, that these points were never going to be made, and instead Milligan was content with providing a narrative of violence floating in a void. Harm just happens within institutions, and we have no idea why! When Milligan writes about not knowing why the white male barristers she interacts with think they can get away with talking to people in a derogatory manner, my mind turns to an article written by Nat Cromb which named ‘the moral and intellectual superiority that we have come to know is a hallmark of whiteness’. By avoiding analysis of the colonial and racialised nature of the justice system, Milligan misses a broader point that would tie many of her observations together.
The inability of a white person to speak about race or colonial power in the context of justice is not surprising to me, nor probably to any other Aboriginal person reading this review; as Langston Hughes wrote, ‘That Justice is a blind goddess / Is a thing to which we black are wise.’ I understand that the testimonies included in Milligan’s book are centred around her reporting of various high profile sexual abuse and sexual assault cases, including the Pell case, which tend to involve white victims. I understand, as Derrida notes, that ‘any witness can make a mistake in good faith’, that they not only ‘can have a limited, false perception’, but that their perception is always inherently limited. However, Milligan fails to be ‘sufficiently conscious’ of or ‘present’ with herself, as Derrida desires of a witness. Milligan, like many white authors, fails to know or recognise herself as a white journalist and the inherent limitations that brings to her work. Witness points to a broader issue with witnessing of abuse in the colony: the white victim is seen, heard, and usually described in a way that centres their innocence (all of which is apparent in Milligan’s description of one of the survivors, Paris, and his friend Finley: ‘unassuming prettiness’, ‘terribly well-mannered’, ‘well brought up’, ‘studious and thoughtful’, ‘characters from an Evelyn Waugh novel’); the Black victim is either hyper-visible through their supposed deficiencies, or is made invisible. While reading Milligan’s book I returned to Amy McQuire’s writing on witnessing Black women in the colony, and her question: ‘why don’t the deaths of our women’ – that is, Aboriginal women – ‘garner the same response’ from the public as the deaths and abuse of white people?
Even when violence experienced by Aboriginal people is acknowledged by settler authors, there is a limit to their ability to properly deal with this violence. Books written by white women about sexual abuse often include a passing glance at the rates of Aboriginal women experiencing such violence, which for this reader is wholly unsatisfying and does not add much other than an escape from white guilt. It appears that there is little to no benefit to being seen within the limits of the colonial gaze, particularly given what Watego terms as the white writer’s ‘willingness to sustain coloniser mythologising of ‘the Aboriginal problem’. However, I agree with what McQuire has said throughout much of her reporting: ‘[t]he work needs to be done to support the testimonies of Black Witnesses who know intimately the violence because they are the ones who view the reality of this violence and provide the most truthful accounts of it’. Had Milligan sought out and supported the testimonies of Black witnesses, those who have been at the forefront of institutional violence that at its core is based upon the removal of Black bodies from Black land, she may have been closer to providing a more accurate account of institutional violence in this colony. Instead, I see her as an unreliable witness of institutional violence in this colony, as she is unable to satisfy Derrida’s demand ‘to testify to it before [herself], sincerely, without mask and without veil’, without taking cover under whiteness as default. Or, rather, Milligan is a reliable witness, but only of the default of whiteness in reporting on abuse and violence in the colony.
Breaking the Mould
Towards the tail-end of Witness, Milligan and her interviewees suggest a few solutions to rectify the failings of the legal system. For instance, she quotes one of her interviewees, Gerry, who implies that trauma-informed practice is one way of addressing the attitude of barristers in court. In my admittedly limited experience, all the trauma-informed practice in the world doesn’t make up for the failings of the system – a system where, as Milligan reports, it is ‘rare for rape cases to have the outcome…[of] a conviction’ and even where there is a conviction survivors feel ‘no victory, no justice… because it still happened’ and the system leaves them ‘raging’; where trials are described as ‘a blunt and brutal instrument’ as people are forced to deal with ‘an immense authoritarian body’ in a form that ‘is, by its nature, a form of combat’; where legal professionals guard, escape, dissociate and numb, experience ‘a complete separation of self’ and ‘knock the edges off their empathy’; where barristers feel they will only ‘get briefed if people think that [they]’re in control’ and for many ‘work-life balance is “a bit pie in the sky”’; and where judges are afraid to push back against barristers in case ‘they find themselves the subject of an appeal point’. Given this state of affairs, I wonder who will enforce a trauma-informed approach to cross-examination. Can we really trust barristers to implement this themselves, even if they are women, even if they are young, given that ‘powerful people so often place reputation and superficial damage control before doing the right thing’? As one of Milligan’s interviewees observes, the legal institution is ‘an abusive system’, the ultimate colonial authority, designed to protect itself.
The other question invited by Witness is whether a trauma-informed approach to cross-examination would make a sizeable change to the dehumanising experience of having one of the most traumatic events of your life picked apart detail by detail in public. Milligan herself experienced a purportedly trauma-informed approach to policing, where she made a complaint to officers who were ‘very friendly and sympathetic’, ‘very nice and professional’ and ‘assured [her] there would be an investigation’ into the harassment she was experiencing as a result of her reporting on the Pell case. Yet nothing happened – as Milligan says, her ‘trust was misplaced’ and she ‘did not receive justice’. Putting aside the issue of whether people outside of Milligan’s position – white, upper-middle class, and legally educated – would be treated with the same courtesy and respect by police, even when this does happen, it does not necessarily tangibly change how the matter is dealt with. Perhaps Milligan felt less traumatised by the experience of making a complaint, but she did not receive a sizeably different outcome as far as justice, safety and closure are concerned.
Milligan also seems taken by the idea of change within the legal profession, particularly through the introduction of women to the Bar, but also ‘people of colour and LGBTIQ lawyers’. She presents a compelling figure in Sarala Fitzgerald, ‘the new face of the Victorian Bar’ who ‘has razor-sharp short hair to match her razor-sharp pant suits and razor-sharp wit’. Fitzgerald and women like her – white, clever, sticking-it-to-the-man – are presented as a potential saving grace for the legal profession and the system as a whole. Milligan does point out that ‘[w]omen are not always, by definition, warm and empathetic’ but also states that ‘the number of women who are appointed as silks, still quite scandalously low, has profound implications…for the experience of everyone in courts’.
Witness raises the question of whether diversification of the ranks of the legal profession would ultimately change the nature of the system. I have watched many of my friends, particularly other young Aboriginal lawyers, get lumped with the Sisyphean task of transforming an archaic, lurching, multifaceted system through their individual presence. Sara Ahmed notes that ‘[b]eing a diversity practitioner means you are in effect appointed by an employer to transform the employer’; I would argue that being a diversity hire places the same obligation upon you. It is frustrating and exhausting because, most of the time, ‘it does not mean the institution is willing to be transformed’ and that you often will ‘becom[e] the location of a problem’. Certainly any Aboriginal person working in a settler-dominant organisation has experienced what Watego describes as ‘the Black worker going to great efforts to do the additional work of being the educator on any and all things Black, on top of the job they were employed to do’, only for our efforts to be ignored, brushed aside or shut down. This often leads to what Vikki Reynolds describes as ‘spiritual pain’: where we are then forced ‘to work in ways that go against [our] ethics’, resulting in a ‘discrepancy between what feels respectful, humane, generative, and contexts which call on us to violate the very beliefs and ethics that brought us’ to the work. We try to fight, but it is hard to push through spiritual pain; as Reynolds aptly describes, ‘we experience our work as shovelling water. We’re working hard, and working harder isn’t working.’ Some days we fall under the water. We struggle to breathe, and as we gasp for air our tenuous existence is held up as a sign that things are changing.
Will Aboriginal lawyers, lawyers of colour, LGBTQIA+ or women lawyers stick around in a profession where each day is laborious, not only because of the demands of the work but the weight of representation? Many will follow one of Milligan’s interviewees’ advice and ‘get out of the kitchen’ if they ‘can’t take the heat’, but surely some will stay. I wonder, though, how effective they will be as agents of change given the pressure to fit into the system as it operates now, where, as Milligan notes, abusive barristers’ actions are seen as ‘completely permissible, honourable and business as usual’ and so much of that business relies on collegial relationships. The hypothesis that young people like Sarala Fitzgerald will be the panacea for a fundamentally flawed system is too individualised. A single bucket will not save a sinking ship.
Some of the other reforms presented in Witness – like providing a barrister to complainant witnesses to act as a buffer against inappropriate questioning – are of the kind described by legal scholar and abolitionist Dean Spade: providing ‘no material relief and chang[ing] only what the system says about itself’, or, ‘if they do provide any material relief, provide it only to those who are least marginalized within the group of people who were supposed to benefit from the reform’. These reforms ‘merely tinker with existing harmful conditions, failing to reach the root causes’, namely, that the legal system itself is rooted in violence, terror and harm. As Aunty Vickie Roach has pointed out, the legal system ‘is not broken, but rather operating exactly as it was designed to do’. How can the law amend the harm that was done by the legal system, operating just as it was meant to?
As only one person I am ill-equipped to suggest any definitive solutions to the issues presented before us. I agree with Spade that we should prioritise deconstructing the system we currently operate in, given the amount of harm it causes, and building an ‘alternative infrastructure through which people can get their needs met’, with us as sovereign Aboriginal people fully in our power. I feel buoyed by the solidarity fostered by the inaugural Rebellious Lawyering conference that took place last year, but I still wonder whether pouring time into our profession as lawyers – even to be tools for the movement – is only serving to expand the system and, as Spade puts it, ‘provide…legitimacy through the cover of innovation’.
I know that, much like Milligan, my gaze is limited. Perhaps those limitations render me too unimaginative to see a way to exist within the legal system where we have the time and space and compassion to provide the kind of witnessing so desired. I know also that the law will never be my site of healing or closure, and I am lucky to have found other ways and spaces in which to be truly seen and held as the person I know myself to be. Writing is one such space, as it was for Watego after her experiences of the legal system: she writes of being able to ‘remember… what it is to be fully human, to feel and to know oneself as someone who is not just worth fighting for, but worth caring for, and deserving of better than what was on offer’.
When my throat feels too tight for words to escape, I hold onto the testimony of Professor Watego, along with the words of James Baldwin, which continue to breathe life into me:
So what can we really do for each other except – just love each other and be each other’s witness? And haven’t we got the right to hope – for more?
Aunty Judy Atkinson, ‘The Value of Deep Listening – The Aboriginal Gift to the Nation’, TEDxSydney, 2 August 2017.
Aunty Vickie Roach, quoted in Latoya Aroha Rule, Lilly Brown and Natalie Ironfield, ‘Incarceration Nation exposes the racist foundations of policing and imprisonment in Australia, but at what cost?’, The Conversation, 30 August 2021.
Aborigines Protection Act 1909 (NSW) s 11(1).
Amy McQuire, ‘Black Witness: Reading Ida B Wells in this place’, Presence, 18 October 2021.
Amy McQuire, ‘Silencing Aboriginal women on issues of violence’, Presence, 11 October 2021.
Chelsea Watego, Another Day in the Colony (University of Queensland Press, Brisbane: 2021).
Dean Spade, ‘Solidarity Not Charity: Mutual Aid for Mobilization and Survival’ (2020) 38(1) Social Text 142.
Gabor Mate, When the Body Says No (Alfred A. Knopf, Canada: 2003).
Jacques Derrida, ‘A Self-Unsealing Poetic Text’, from Clark, Michael (ed.), Revenge of the Aesthetic: The Place of Literature in Theory Today (University of California Press, Berkeley: 2000).
James Baldwin, Another Country (Dial Press, New York City: 1962).
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son (Beacon Press, Boston: 1955).
Langston Hughes, ‘Justice’.
Nat Cromb, ‘Our Country is Burning’, IndigenousX, 2 January 2020.
ODPP New South Wales, ‘Prosecution Guidelines’, 2.2.
Patricia Anderson et. al. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and child sexual abuse in institutional settings (2017). Report for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Sydney.
Queensland Courts, ‘Oaths and affirmations’, 15 February 2017.
Sara Ahmed, ‘Complaint as Diversity Work’, feministkilljoys, 10 November 2017.
Solicitors Conduct Rules, r 3.1.
Supreme Court of NSW, Form 70AA.
Vikki Reynolds, ‘Resisting burnout with justice-doing’ (2011) 4 The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work 27.