'200 Years of Injustice for Indigenous Australians: Changes for the Future'
Presented by The Hon Justice Wayne Martin AC KC.
The 2022 Peter Brett Memorial Lecture
Wayne Martin draws on his experience as Chief Justice of Western Australia between 2006 and 2018 to offer some post-judicial views on the apparently intractable tragedy of the gross over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Australian criminal justice system. His analysis of the magnitude of the problem shows that the causes include unjust and unequal treatment of First Nation Australians by the legislatures, police, courts, and corrective services agencies that comprise our justice system. He will suggest some reforms which could mitigate this injustice and inequality and its consequences.
Peter Brett Memorial Lecture
Peter Brett (1918-1975), appointed Senior Lecturer at the Law School in 1955, Reader in 1961, Hearn Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne from 1963 to 1964, and Professor of Jurisprudence from 1964 until his death, was distinguished by both his scholarship in criminal law and legal philosophy, and his determination to contest injustice in the courts. He was one of the group of lawyers who stopped the hanging of Paul Tait in 1962, creating a landmark in the history of capital punishment in Australia.
The Hon Wayne Martin was admitted to legal practice in Western Australia in 1977. In 1984 he became Senior Litigation Partner with Keall Brinsden in Perth and then in 1988 joined the Independent Bar. In 1993 he was appointed Queen’s Counsel. Between October 1996 and October 2002, he was a Member of the Law Reform Commission, and from 1997 to 2001 served as its Chairman. From 2001 – 2003, he took on the role of counsel assisting the HIH Royal Commission in Sydney.
In 2006, he became the 13th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia. In 2012, he was appointed a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia “for eminent service to the judiciary and to the law, particularly as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, to legal reform and education, and to the community”. He has held many positions as Chairman or Patron and is also the Lieutenant Governor of Western Australia. He was appointed inaugural Chair of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity in 2013 and served in that capacity until 2017. He retired from the office of Chief Justice in July 2018.