Supreme Court to welcome first female Indigenous judge Louise Taylor


Kamilaroi woman Louise Taylor has become the first Indigenous female Supreme Court judge in Australia, in what Women on Boards members have described as an historic milestone and monumental moment for our country.


Justice Taylor has been appointed to the ACT Supreme Court, as the territory's sixth judge. It is the second time she has made history, after she was appointed as the ACT's first Indigenous magistrate in 2018.

WOB’s ACT representative and legal expert, Dr Kath Hall, who is also Honorary Associate Professor at the ANU College of Law, described Justice Taylor’s appointment as a “well overdue but historic milestone”.

“Louise Taylor’s appointment to the Supreme Court is a huge achievement – not only for her, her family and supporters, but also for the ACT legal profession and the courts as a whole.

“We need to see diversity at all levels in the law, and up until now there has mostly been a focus on getting more women on the bench. While this is incredibly important, Louise’s appointment shows us that we must go further and create an inclusive judiciary that reflects the diversity of the Australian population. And the first place to start with this is to make it possible for more indigenous people to enter and succeed within the law.

 “Louise’s appointment stands as inspiration to anyone who cannot currently see themselves represented within our court and legal systems.”

She added that Justice Taylor’s career also demonstrates her strong commitment to contributing to the governance of community legal organisations. “Alongside a very busy career as a criminal lawyer and raising four children, she served as Chair of the Women's Legal Centre ACT for 10 years and Chair of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Women and the ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Council.”

Women on Boards’ Cultural Diversity Committee member, and Yorta Yorta woman, Claire Beattie described Justice Taylor as a “North Star of hope”.

“This is a monumental moment for our country and my people and I could not be prouder of this appointment,” she said.

“We all know, what you can’t see you can’t be. There is a discourse out there that you will only find First Nations peoples in certain careers or roles. But we know this is not true and appointments like this prove it. As a proud Yorta Yorta woman I know that diversity matters – seeing diverse faces and hearing from diverse voices derisks society and programs.

“According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rate decreased by 3 per cent from 2,412 to 2,330 prisoners per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult population. At 30 June 2022 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners accounted for 32 per cent of all prisoners. 

“Whilst this is a decrease it is still a travesty. An appointment such as this allows for cultural safety for our mob and will be the change in terms of court decisions around incarceration. 

Justice Taylor said she was "very honoured to have the privilege to serve the community" as a Supreme Court judge.

"This is, of course, a very proud day for my family and I, and I hope a very proud day for First Nations people, in particular First Nations women," she said.

"At my appointment, I'm conscious of the significance of it and I'm very proud to accept this appointment."

ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the government was pleased to be able to appoint a local judge, who he hoped would inspire others to follow in her footsteps.

"We're very delighted that, as a Kamilaroi woman, she has not only had an outstanding legal career but she will also represent Aboriginal people and be a role model for young lawyers coming through to understand how far they can progress with their careers, and hopefully that provides a source of inspiration."

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