2017 Ricky Webke Memorial Award – Congratulations Rayna Smith

Rayna_RickyWebkeAwardCongratulations to Rayna (pictured right) for taking out the 2017 Ricky Webcke Memorial Award at the ATSILS Annual Staff Awards.

This Award is presented each year to our Organisation’s most outstanding Court Support or Field Officer. It bears the name of a truly remarkable man, the late and great Ricky Webke (known to some as George Appleton-Smith) – who was coincidentally, the inaugural recipient of this award when such were introduced on an annual basis in 2006.

Like Ricky, Rayna is a dedicated Court Support Officer, has performed her role with distinction and is passionate about doing her bit to enhance the lives of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members who come in contact with the justice system.

Court Support Officers perform a vital role, they are the frontline of our culturally competent service delivery with strong connections to community. They are experienced in assisting clients navigate the justice system and enhance communication between our clients and legal practitioners.


Client Satisfaction Survey Annual Report for 2015-16

When delivering our innovative, professional and culturally competent legal services across Queensland we always seek feedback on the assistance provided to clients. Client feedback is captured periodically to ensure we are delivering quality assistance in line with needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families, and that meet the requirements of our funding body (Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department). Below are the collated responses and data analysis for our Client Satisfaction Survey  Annual Report 2015/2016.

View full report


Part A: Statistical Information


 Table 1: Summary of Client Satisfaction Surveys (2015-16)

Client Satisfaction - ATSILS Representation

Number of Clients Surveyed: 1,188              Criminal Law:    1125                      Civil Law:         21             Family Law:   42
Part A: satisfaction level of legal representation
Very satisfied 835 70.29%
More than satisfied 128 10.77%
Satisfied 216 18.18%
Unsatisfied 3 0.25%
Very unsatisfied 6 0.51%
Part B: General Observations
Was it easy to locate our office? Yes                  791 No               11     N/A          386            
How quickly seen? Quickly           909 Fairly Quickly     269 Too Slowly       10
How treated by staff? V. Well   958 Well           169 Adequately   60 Poorly    1
Comprehensible explanation? Yes           1180         No                  8                               
Satisfied with staff handling? Yes          1184                 No                4                     
Culturally sensitive? Yes          1171               No                17                       

Conclusion: An excellent outcome – with in excess of 81% of clients being either very satisfied or more than satisfied with the service provision received – with less than 1% of clients being unsatisfied.


 Table 2: Satisfaction by Remoteness Index (all law types)

Client Satisfaction by Remoteness Index

OfficeLocation VerySatisfied More thanSatisfied Satisfied Unsatisfied VeryUnsatisfied PercentageSatisfied +
Metropolitan 159 22 15 1 1 98.99%
Regional 475 80 150 2 2 99.44%
Remote 201 26 51 0 3 98.93%
Totals: 835 128 216 3 6 99.24%


Table 3: Satisfaction by Law Type

ATSILS Client Satisfaction by Legal Assistance Type

Law Type VerySatisfied More thanSatisfied Satisfied Unsatisfied VeryUnsatisfied PercentageSatisfied +
Criminal 785 117 215 3 5 99.29%
Civil 16 4 1 0 0 100%
Family 34 7 0 0 1 97.62%
Totals: 835 128 216 3 6 99.24%


Note: Office by office figures are also analysed (albeit not contained within this report)


Part B: Client Feedback (written comments – by office location)

ATSILS Service - What do our clients think?

Beenleigh Comments:-

  • Very prompt service
  • Communication was good
  • Could be better by checking that everyone has representation

Brisbane Comments:-

  • Work organisation & construction of the case defence & common knowledge
  • Very happy
  • Things we well explained
  • Has been with me from the start – without her I would be here writing toady – Power to the people
  • Lawyer was excellent in keeping me informed of all aspects of the case and provided me excellent advice and support and I am very grateful & appreciative of this support and would recommend ATSILS to any future clients.
  • Could be better with replaceable lawyers if needed

 Bundaberg Comments:-

  • Happy with my advice
  • Nat was very helpful in explaining the process to me – thanks
  • Thanks you for helping so much
  • I was impressed with service, really happy with representation – thanks you
  • All aspects of assistance was great, excellent communication
  • Looked after my best interests
  • Everything was very good
  • Good support
  • My matter was dealt with – very excellent results

Charleville / Cunnamulla / Roma Comments:-

  • It was extremely good how Solicitor kept in contact with us & was upfront form the start was really pleased with outcome
  • Very good
  • Direction given was very good
  • Happy with outcome
  • Great staff very helpful
  • Could have been better by not changing solicitors as we had to keep telling the same story (3 solicitors)
  • The contact I was very happy with
  • It is better now than it was 4 years ago
  • Had a good solicitor
  • Happy with outcome and Laurie representing me
  • Explained what I can’t understand
  • This was the best service I ever have had and it was because of the solicitor
  • Could have been better – office was a little untidied, paperwork could be put away

Hervey Bay Comments:-

  • Excellent communication between the service and myself – up to date, reports and info regarding the process
  • Easy to work with and kept me informed with court hearings
  • Professional in all areas
  • Went well thank you so much

Ipswich Comments:-

  • Communication was very good I knew what was happening at every step can’t thank him enough for his efforts
  • Communication was great
  • Extremely good
  • My lawyer was a straight shooter and what he says he does and he actually cares
  • Spoken to nicely & everything was explained very well
  • Solicitor was amazing, caring and gave me the time of day and made me feel at ease
  • Service was fast and explained well
  • I got the best outcome, staff was great and always been helpful
  • The way I was treated was good
  • Always go above and beyond
  • Really in touch with the family  and do all I asked thank you more than words could say
  • Very please pf outcome of court and my lawyers service
  • Could have been better – I saw [name omitted from report] for 2 minutes, I felt I wasn’t given the time of the day, I felt he was rude and felt lessor of a person compared to him

Mackay Comments:-

  • My representation was good
  • They were good in all areas
  • My completed service was great
  • I was very happy that ATSILS represented me
  • All good
  • Everything went fine
  • Representation was really good & they listened to me
  • Happy with the lot e.g. outcome and representation
  • I was happy with the solicitor who represented me
  • They were very through happy with outcome
  • Got me a good outcome
  • Everything went fine
  • My solicitor was very successful with the little information she had
  • Overall 100% great
  • Representation & explanation of charges and outcomes was good
  • Solicitor asked questions and very clear
  • Representation and explanation was very good
  • Could have been better – my solicitor was unsure and did not feel confident
  • Could have been better with a full time family lawyer it was stressful when I couldn’t get one

Maroochydore Comments:-

  • I was treated with respect and they helped me and listened to me
  • Great – keep up the good work
  • Very easy to communicate with and work with
  • Very happy with service
  • Very professional also listed to my events and delivered the same to the court
  • Very well explained for my understanding
  • Tim was fantastic in the way he handle everything on the day and the lead up Very pleased thank you so much
  • I wouldn’t go anywhere else for legal advice
  • Legends they listened to you
  • Al round very good service
  • Rod did the best he could with the charges I had
  • Very helpful with everything
  • He done everything he could & I am happy with the outcome
  • Getting charges dropped to a lesser charge. Explaining when was happening throughout the course of going to court
  • The service was great very understanding do their job to a high standard and will use them again and recommend them to other people
  • I couldn’t ask for a better solicitor 
  • She is particularly through and everything got done – team was brilliant
  • Mediation was excellent – getting somewhere there
  • My matter was such short notice – 4 days to put it together – working w/ends – the team did such a great job
  • They went the extra mile to make calls to me everyone was really considerate to my needs
  • They made sure I understood the legal jargon – I finally got a resolution
  • I felt that all the legal assistance and representation in relation to my family law matter was outstanding 
  • Very helpful and personal service I felt supported and communication was clear and upfront
  • Solicitor answered all my questions – very good explanation at what could happen and how he could help me in this situation
  • Could have been better – parking was very difficult

Murgon Comments:-

  • I thought they were helpful
  • Explained all aspects of defence well
  • Services were good
  • Staff are easy to talk to and do a very good job
  • At any time of day I was able to contact by phone or email. Made it much easier through the ordeal
  • Following up with me and leaving messages as I struggled through the last 6 months. Being available to answer phones calls / reassure on weekends and receiving written confirmation of court outcomes
  • Could have been better – I felt let down in May of this year when the [omitted] lawyer,  [name omitted from report] didn’t help me with my case re: [omitted]
  • Could have been netter – A little bit disappointed that they couldn’t attend the watch house quicker. I don’t like spending the whole day locked-up

Normanton Comments:-

  • Very good rep from the lawyer
  • First time – very good
  • Could have been better – more presence in the community

 Rockhampton Comments:-

  • Lawyers and support always there to help. There was no judgement and I am extremely happy with the outcome
  • Thanks ATSILS
  • I was very satisfied
  • Very happy for the way that ATSILS acted on my behalf very thankful and appreciated
  • Super satisfied thank you heaps
  • Communication is awesome 
  • Thanks for the advice on the warrant
  • Top efforts
  • Thanks Shayne
  • Stoked – brilliant
  • Thank ATSILS, CJG and ISL court for your help
  • Thank you helping me get my charge being dismissed
  • Thanks you for case conferencing my matters
  • Excellent communication
  • Happy with service and staff – NOT happy worth curt outcome

Southport Comments:-

  • Very satisfied
  • I will use you Aboriginal Legal Aid all the time
  • Happy with the service and outcome
  • As always very helpful
  • I was most impressed with Sunil, he was very professional and very helpful
  • They looked after me very well
  • Very happy
  • Very professional and caring explained everything in detail
  • They did everything I could have wanted and more
  • Explain things well
  • Help was very good
  • I was more than happy with the service’s received, very much appreciated
  • It was my first time going to court and my lawyer was very good and made me feel relaxed
  • As always my lawyer gives me information and legal advice I ask for. She is always supportive in any situation that I have and willing to help if she can. Always points me in the right direction
  • I was very happy that we resolved my problems

Thursday Island:-

  • Service was good
  • Very professional approach and open and easy to talk to
  • Well done keep up the good work
  • You guys are great
  • Very satisfied for the way you handle my case
  • Client service was good
  • Good at explaining the matter and outcome and clear communication
  • My first time at court and a charge was dropped to this helped me – I like that the legal service and court come to Badu
  • Everything was good and satisfied with the outcome
  • I would recommend ATSILS to all in the area
  • Good having a field office who explains to understand
  • Service was very excellent and always concerned about me
  • Could have been better – in need of an interpreter for kids
  • Could have been better – tell me what’s going on and too much court dates
  • Could have been better – May need a microphone or PA system – Magistrate couldn’t hear because of the fans

 Toowoomba / Dalby / Goondiwindi / St George / Warwick / Chinchilla Comments:-

  • Great support everything was explained
  • I am very happy I still have my licence
  • Extremely satisfied
  • You are the best
  • Good to talk to it a good system and very helpful
  • Listened to me
  • Good service
  • Extremely good communication between myself and lawyer, very helpful on all levels
  • Very good so happy with the outcome
  • Explained everything

Townsville Comments:-

  • Had an outstanding lawyer.  Professionalism really shone through. I would recommend him to anybody he has changed our lives forever we will be forever in his debt. Thank you will all our hearts.
  • Lawyer delivered a great service & he was culturally appropriate in delivering a quality service

Experts call for new approach to Indigenous incarceration

In his role as Co – Chair – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services & Change The Record Coalition, our CEO Shane Duffy speaks to Australasian Lawyer about the call for a new approach to Indigenous incarceration.

“The policing methodology in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country has been more about ‘lock them up and throw away the key’. We continuously see governments winning elections based off law and order agendas and incarcerations. What we need to do is look at a new, smarter approach to ensuring we have safer communities across the country.” – Shane Duffy, Co – Chair – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services & Change The Record Coalition

Read Full Article Here:

See Lateline’s full interview with ATSILS CEO Shane Duffy at the link below.

These are the smarter solutions we are campaigning for:

Pledge your support to ‪#‎ChangeTheRecord‬ on violence and imprisonment rates today –>


Sharing our Experience of Service Delivery

Yesterday members of our Executive management team in Brisbane hosted a delegation from the Legal Aid Foundation Taiwan – including their Secretary-General.

The delegation was on a fact-finding mission to get insight on how we deliver our specialised legal services. Of particular interest were things such as the cultural competency of our staff, our quality controls and Murri Court  – (given the Indigenous population in Taiwan).


With the help of an interpreter the meeting proved to be great cross cultural exchange. The delegation was clearly grateful for our time and feedback, which included the provision of casework standards.


As a mark of appreciation the ATSILS team was presented with a special gift, a “Limpidwing Flying Fish” (“sosowowon”) crafted by a father and son team of Indigenous Taiwanese artists.


The amazing piece of artwork heralds from the Tao Indigenous peoples on Orchid Island (Pongso no Tao) – the only marine ethnic group of Taiwan. The flying fish is an important symbol of the Tao indigenous peoples. “The first catch in the open season will only be shared by family members of the fishermen.  All of the family members shall eat the first catch”.


Their delegation consisted of:

1. Attorney Mr. Wei-Shyang Chen, Secretary-General, Legal Aid Foundation, Taiwan

2. Mr. Chih-Wei, Tsai, Board Member, Legal Aid Foundation, Taiwan

3. Attorney Ms. Tsai-Yi Chen, Executive Secretary, Taitung Branch, Legal Aid Foundation, Taiwan

4. Mr. Te-Yen Chou, Deputy- Director, Department of Legal Affairs, Legal Aid Foundation, Taiwan

5. Ms. Si-Wei Huang, Deputy- Director, Department of Business & Management, Legal Aid Foundation, Taiwan

6.Ms. Yu-Shan Chang, PHD Candidate, University College, London (translator)

Change the Record

MEDIA RELEASE: Change The Record Coalition’s response to Prime Minister Turnbull’s Domestic Violence package

The Change the Record Coalition today welcomed Prime Minister Turnbull’s announcement of $100 million of funding targeted at addressing family and domestic violence, but expressed disappointment that the package fails to prioritise essential legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s safety.

View Media Release


A Human Rights Act for Queensland – Parliamentary Inquiry

Queensland is one step closer to a charter of human rights, with the Palaszczuk Government committing to holding a parliamentary inquiry into how the state could adopt its own bill of rights.

CEO_ShaneDuffy_HRA4QLDOn Monday night 14/09/2015 our CEO Shane Duffy spoke the launch of the #HumanRights4QLD campaign at Parliament House. Mr Duffy highlighted some of the shocking human rights violations experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the benefits of using a human rights framework to shape future legislation to better protect the rights of all Queenslanders.

“We need to invest in the proactive rather than the reactive and to put resources on the ground.” Mr Duffy said.

At the launch on Monday Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad confirmed the great news that the government would move a motion to kick off the inquiry.

The move was welcomed by the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, which said Queenslanders basic rights remained unprotected under existing legislation.

Queensland is the only state in Australia with a one-house parliament which means there is a higher risk of rights breaches by the government and therefore more work to do in terms of rights protections.


Read more:



Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day

FASD Awareness Day

No alcohol  during pregnancy ‪#‎FASDAwarenessDay‬

Today is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day. The day puts a spotlight on the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy and the plight of families and individuals living with FASD. FASD is a disorder caused by maternal consumption of alcohol prior to a child’s birth.  This spectrum of disorders can leave affected individuals with wide ranging and varied behavioural and cognitive problems that often see them end up in the justice system rather than the health system.

FASD is a significant issue effecting many families in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. A recent House of Representatives Standing committee report says Indigenous children fall through cracks of education system and later land in prison as FASD is misdiagnosed or not treated.

The report recommended all governments work to adopt a justice reinvestment strategy in predominantly Indigenous communities as a more effective way to keep people out of prison and reduce inter-generational alcohol abuse.

View more:…/foetal-alcohol-syndrome-should…

Online FASD Resources:
For more information on FASD check out this web resource by the Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre


For more information on FASD or FASD Awareness Day, please visit:


Change the Record:
Join the ‪#‎ChangeTheRecord‬ campaign to call on Governments to adopt justice reinvestment strategies that tackle the root causes of imprisonment –


New Strathpine Office Location – as of 13th August 2015

As of the 13/08/2015 our Strathpine office will be relocating to:

Shop 6a, 424 Gympie Road, Strathpine 4500 (PO Box 2064)

During the transition our phones, fax and email system may be down until Friday 14/08 an possible Monday 17/08.
If you are having trouble getting through during this time please contact the Brisbane Head office on: (07) 3025 3888

Full contact details for the new Strathpine location are listed below.

Services Provided: Criminal and Family Law (Civil Law referred to our Brisbane office)
Address: Shop 6a, 424 Gympie Road, Strathpine 4500 (PO Box 2064)
Phone: (07) 3205 1253
 (07) 3205 1250
*If you require mobility or pram access at this location please call ahead to make arrangements.
Where we have no wheelchair access available we may be able to meet you in a better place, if you give us enough time.

Please note
*Our Strathpine office can be discreetly accessed via the rear carpark and Railway Avenue (not the Gympie road shopfronts.) It is 220m from the Pine Rivers Court House.
**Closest Railway Station: Bray Park