Professor Rosalind Croucher, President of the Australian Law Reform Commission, was announced the winner of the inaugural AWL Award at a Gala Dinner held in Adelaide on 4th October at the AWL 5th National Conference.
The Australian Women Lawyer Award (AWL Award) recognises women that have made an outstanding contribution to the legal profession in Australia whether or not their career has led to the traditional route of partnership, taking silk or appointment to the bench.
The criteria of the AWL Award recognises women who have provided long term leadership and commitment in the support and advancement of women in the legal profession. Further information about the AWL Award may be found on the Australian Women Lawyers website.
WLANSW Immediate Past President, Margaret Holz, noted ‘Prof Croucher is an inspirational leader in the legal community, making a distinct contribution to law reform and legal education across the national stage. She has enthusiastically taken on ‘tough’ roles with great success and is a true institution builder. Prof Croucher restored the reputation of Macquarie Law School and successfully steered the ALRC through two inquiries which threatened the ALRC’s very existence. At the ALRC she has led seven inquiries of great public policy significance, including on family violence, older workers, and disability. She is also an exceptional mentor, with a deep and abiding commitment to fostering the careers of others, particularly women.’
Lee-May Saw, WLANSW Executive Committee Member and Past President, said ‘It was a privilege to support the nomination of Prof Croucher. A long standing member and supporter of WLANSW, Professor Croucher continues to be a leading advocate for women and the law, and was awarded a Life Membership of WLANSW in 2013.’
Lee-May Saw and Margaret Holz accepted the Award on Prof Croucher’s behalf from AWL Patron, The Honourable Chief Justice Diana Bryant AO QC (pictured L-R: Lee-May Saw, Margaret Holz, Justice Bryant). Margaret Holz read Prof Croucher’s acceptance and thanks:
“I am so sorry that I cannot be here with you tonight.
I am deeply honoured to be chosen for this award and profoundly humbled to have been nominated by the powerhouse women of the NSW Women Lawyers’ Association and to be acknowledged by my peers in this way. To have Lee-May and Margaret accept this award for me is very special.
My pathway into the academic world happened a bit by accident, after my first child was born (in 1981), sending me on a different trajectory than the one I had imagined I would take (to the Bar) and I have been extraordinarily lucky in the opportunities that it has given me, both as a legal academic and Dean and now in the world of public policy in my role at the Australian Law Reform Commission. One of the greatest privileges has been the opportunity – and delight – of being able to encourage and mentor so many women, and men, around me. A deep and abiding joy is to see those I have sought to nurture flourish around me, building careers and becoming role models and mentors in turn.
To AWL and President Amy Challans: the ‘suffragists’ (as they called themselves) of the 19th and early 20th centuries knew the power of working together to achieve goals for women. Each of the Women Lawyers’ associations across Australia, and AWL as the peak body, are proud successors of the traditions of our early sisters. And how fitting it is to be meeting in Adelaide, the birthplace of women’s suffrage in Australia.
To Gordon and Jackson, the sponsors of this award: you are to be congratulated for acknowledging women lawyers and the great contributions that may otherwise go unnoticed or unheralded.
To Chief Justice Bryant: you are an inspiration and I admire and respect you enormously. You are a true champion for women and a wonderful role model. To receive this award from you is a singular honour.
Thank you, thank you, thank you — and keep up the excellent work!”
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