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Message from Peter Seidel

PeterS 458

It gives me tremendous joy to be able to share my thoughts about Arnold Bloch Leibler’s re-commitment to Indigenous peoples and communities and their causes through the Arnold Bloch Leibler Indigenous Solidarity Network.

I started at Arnold Bloch Leibler in 1993 to work on the Yorta Yorta Native Title determination application. It was the late great Ron Castan QC AC who did the matchmaking between the firm and the client. He knew that in Arnold Bloch Leibler, the Yorta Yorta peoples would find an understanding and empathetic ear.

The partners - most of whom tellingly remain partners of the firm to this day - made a wise and principled decision to take on the Yorta Yorta case in what was a highly flammable political environment at the time.

So much has happened in my life since then, most for the better and some for the worse. For me, the great constant has been the firm’s total and steadfast commitment to Indigenous causes, including through the pandemic and all the challenges it presented to us. To be able to pursue a fulfilling career and achieve purpose for nearly three decades at the one firm - a firm that is unwavering in its principled commitment to a cause that lies at the heart of who I am as a professional and as a person - is very rare indeed in the profession. I feel extremely lucky and grateful for it, and I know my partners and Arnold Bloch Leibler colleagues feel the same way about the firm.

Fast forwarding to today, one of the great strengths of Arnold Bloch Leibler is our collective willingness to take a look in the mirror from time to time, to review and refine what we do and how we do it. This is particularly important in our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, so that we might take account of the awakenings gifted to us through our cross-cultural experiences, working in support of Indigenous peoples and what they seek to achieve.

Our new emphasis on the concept of Indigenous solidarity is a perfect case in point. It powerfully and accurately reflects what we have always sought, and will always seek, to achieve in our efforts.

As partners and staff of a culturally strong and successful law firm, we have always recognised that for us to help to achieve reconciliation in this country, our best work is done by utilising our legal expertise to support Indigenous peoples in their endeavours. Not to imagine we are in any way qualified to lead the way, but to walk side by side and to bear witness, in solidarity.

It is non-Indigenous people who must do this kind of heavy-lifting, not Indigenous peoples themselves, who are already doing what is necessary from their various perspectives.

And it’s all set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

So, it is in this spirit of principled solidarity that we launch this Statement and re-affirm our commitment to a cause that is truly dear to us.

To read Mark Leibler's message, click here.

To read Henry Lanzer's message, click here.