Advocates for Change

You can accept things will change over time and just do your part, or you can grab the nettle and do it. That’s what I am trying to do and I am most proud that we have gone from a sedentary place to a place where momentum is unstoppable.

Lieutenant General David Morrison AO (Rtd), Australian Army

In September 2016, Bar Council approved a redesign for the Advocates for Change program. The Advocates for Change program now has two main purposes:

  • To provide role models who, through the example of what they do and say in their professional lives as barristers, represent the full width of diversity and inclusion that the NSW Bar Association wishes to promote at the Bar; and
  • Require that those designated as an Advocate for Change should be asked to undertake particular tasks within their role as Advocates for Change.

The Advocates for Change program is no longer limited to issues of gender diversity but also now includes attributes such as racial background, disability, LGBTI and older practitioners.

The purpose of the Advocates for Change program is to encourage members of the bar to step up as leaders in the promotion of an inclusive profession. An inclusive profession is dependent on the creation of conditions and cultures that enable persons with varying backgrounds and attributes to thrive. Giving instructing solicitors, clients and the community access to the full talent pool is a commercial, social and economic imperative. 

Bar News

The first in a series of articles about Advocates for Change, an interview with Steven Finch SC, was published the Autumn 2015 edition of Bar News. Following that, Bar News interviewed Phillip Boulten SC, who was selected as an Advocate for Change in the area of criminal law for defence barristers. In the Summer 2015-16 edition Talitha Fishburn spoke to him about his views on female defence barristers and the extent to which equitable briefing impacts them.

Champions of Change

The Advocates for Change programme is modelled on the Australian Human Rights Commission's ‘Male Champions of Change’ initiative that was established in 2010. More information about the Male Champions of Change programme can be found here.

The Bar Association’s Advocates for Change will aim to lead by example, and make efforts to bring other leaders of the bar with them. Leadership and change at the bar is not limited to senior counsel but is a responsibility for all members of the New South Wales Bar.