Australia needs enlightened leaders with the courage to challenge the cultural inequality in the legal profession and to implement measures to redress it.
On the walls of the long private corridor leading to the court are impeccably presented photos of judges past and present. As I stop to look, I recognise some whose decisions I have studied and others who lectured me at law school.
The nostalgia soon gives way to shock, frustration and ultimately despair. There is but one face of colour among them all – one lonely figure spanning all those decades.
Why is this so?
Australia is one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world. More than half the population was born overseas or has a parent born overseas. Our law schools are brimming with talented and committed Australians from cultures as diverse as Asia and Africa.
Despite this diversity, our multicultural story, at least in the law, is a failure. Legal institutions, particularly the judiciary, remain the least culturally diverse in our society.