Justice Lincoln Crowley takes oath as judge of Queensland top court, in ‘historical occasion’.
The first indigenous judge of Australia’s Supreme Court in Queensland was sworn in on Monday, local media said.
Justice Lincoln Crowley, who was nominated for the post in the top court of Queensland last month, was sworn in the morning, ABC News reported
The broadcaster quoted Crowley as saying after the sworn in ceremony that he was “extremely proud and humbled,” and that this was “also a momentous and historic occasion for the First Nations people of this state and indeed this country.”
The ceremony was also attended by large numbers of legal practitioners and members of the public.
“It’s remarkable in so many ways. Remarkable for me that I am the first, and remarkable for our community that it has taken so long for this occasion to arrive,” he added.
Earlier, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman welcomed Crowley’s appointment.
“Mr. Crowley, a descendant of the Warramunga peoples from the Northern Territory who grew up in north Queensland, is the state’s first Aboriginal Supreme Court Judge,” said the premier.
According to the Australian Healing Foundation, an organization working for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, tens of thousands of children were forcibly removed by authorities from indigenous families between 1910 to 1970 under government policy.
Under such policies, children were forced to assimilate into white society and culture, while parents were not allowed to meet their children. Also, children were not allowed to speak their native language.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), around 33,600 survivors of the Stolen Generations live in different states of the country, with 27,000 of them over the age of 50.
On Feb. 13, 2008, then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd formally apologized on behalf of the nation to the Indigenous Australians for the inhumane treatment in the past.