JCU Law student to be immersed in Native Title
A JCU Law School student will spend five weeks in her mid-year university break finding out what being a Native Title lawyer is all about.
Townsville-based fourth-year graduate law student, Joanne Keune has been selected from more than 300 applicants nationwide to win an Aurora internship, to start from the end of this month.
Aurora internships are part of the Aurora Project, which was established in 2006 as a result of a report into the professional development needs of lawyers at Native Title Representative Bodies.
Internships allow students and graduates to consider careers in policy development, social justice and Indigenous affairs more generally.
Ms Keune will undertake her internship in Redfern in Sydney in the Native Title Service Provider for Aboriginal Traditional Owners (NTSCORP Limited) office from June 22.
She said it’s a thrill to be representing JCU, and also for the chance to work in an office dedicated to Native Title.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to learn in an office environment what the real role of a lawyer is. It’s one thing to study a bit of theory and legislation—it’s another to see the practice, which only an internship can provide.
“I am very proud to be able to represent James Cook University, a university that carries many decades of support for Indigenous rights and recognition.”
Ms Keune said her mediation skills were learned at an early age.
“I went to Pimlico High School, and in the eighties I was often playing mediator, sorting out disputes between the white kids and the black kids. I think a lot has changed since then, and there is a deeper empathy for the plight of the black people in this nation.
“I feel very fortunate to have firsthand experienced the richness of culture of the Wulgurukaba, Manbarra and Bindal tribes in this region, along with many of our Northern tribes who are a part of Girringun Aboriginal Corporation.”
She said studying law had been enlightening.
“Studying the law a little bit later in life, and being from a pretty typical middle class family who love football and the races, I have to say studying the law has been a big eye-opener to the true power that the wealthy people have in the world,” she said.
Ms Keune said Eddie Mabo and his long legal struggle for Australia to recognise Native Title, and JCU historian Professor Henry Reynolds (under whose tutelage she completed two classes), were her inspiration.
“JCU has long been a leader of Reconciliation in Australia, and scholarships such as Aurora only further people’s understanding of Traditional Owners, sovereignty and what Native Title means for all Australians,” she said.
Ms Keune intends to utilise her JCU law degree to work for justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.
“Human Rights is a life passion when you see injustice and people in pain. I think we all have a responsibility to do our little bit to improve it, for the children’s sake.”
JCU Law School Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Program
The James Cook University Law School offers the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (graduate) degree, which is a three-year program. This law program is designed for students who already hold a bachelor degree in another field and wish to gain a qualification in law. The law school links up with local law firms and the Community Legal Centre, which offer students opportunities to gain practical legal skills.
Program: Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (graduate entry)
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Semester intakes: February or July
Duration: 3 years
Application deadline: There is no official application deadline. It is recommended that students apply at least three months prior to the program start date.