Please wear a mask when visiting an ATSILS Office

ATSILS Mask RequirementsAs of 1am, 2 January, face masks are now required in all indoor settings except for in the home, if it’s unsafe or if doing strenuous exercise. 😷
All visitors are required to wear a mask when attending ATSILS offices until further notice. (Exceptions are when eating/drinking or there is a valid medical reason not to wear a mask).
Surgical masks will be available for visitors at ATSILS offices if required.

COVID-19 – Service Delivery Response Measures – January 2022

To help slow the spread of COVID-19 our staff are instructed to use physical distancing and to deliver services via phone or ICT options wherever possible. Please phone your lawyer or our client services staff to confirm the best arrangements for legal appointments or attending court. A full list of office contacts is available here:
Mask wearing will be required for staff, clients and visitors attending ATSILS offices at all times (exceptions are when eating/drinking or there is a medical reason not to wear a mask) until further notice. Surgical masks will be available for visitors at ATSILS offices if required.
If you are feeling unwell with COVID Symptoms or have been a close contact please don’t attend our offices in person, get tested, seek medical help and contact your lawyer for advice.
For more information on what to do if you have COVID-19 visit:

Murri Christmas!

From all the team and directors at ATSILS, we wish you a very Murri Christmas and all the very best for the summer and the New Year.
To all the communities, families and partners we’ve had the pleasure of working with this year, we thank you for your continued support during another challenging year and look forward to working with you again in 2022 as we continue to advance and protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Queensland.
Please note our offices will be closed for a short time over the Christmas period (from 20 Dec 2021 – 3rd Jan 2022) however, we will still have a team of legal practitioners and client services staff rostered on call during this time to provide legal help.
If you need legal assistance during this time call our free-call number: 1800 012 255.
Also, a member of our team in each region will be available on-call 24/7 for any urgent criminal matters.
Once again Merry Christmas, stay safe, and stay deadly!

MEDIA RELEASE: ATSILS calls for an independent body to investigate public complaints against police

Queensland needs an independent body to investigate complaints against police officers to ensure greater transparency and community confidence in law enforcement.


The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (QLD) LTD (ATSILS) is appalled at the alleged behaviour of a police officer in Cunnamulla who was recently filmed threatening to ‘flog’ and ‘hurt’ a member of the community in the south west Queensland township.

ATSILS CEO Mr. Shane Duffy said, “If the investigation substantiates that the police officer indeed made the threats as alleged, then it would be difficult to justify any outcome other than the officer’s dismissal. The officer’s actions (if substantiated) not only undermine the Queensland Police Service’s (QPS) own documented ethical standards and the Queensland Public Service Code of Conduct, but also the local community’s expectations and confidence in law enforcement.

“Police officers are public servants who are entrusted with a range of powers and responsibilities critical to maintaining community safety. The community expects these powers and responsibilities will be exercised in line with the highest standards of professionalism given the level of training police receive and the important role they play in the community.”, Mr. Duffy said.

“If a citizen was to threaten a police officer in the same way this member of the public was threatened in this video, I would guarantee they would be charged. It should be without question that the same standards, in terms of criminal behaviour, should apply to the police as to the wider community”, Mr. Duffy said.

ATSILS understands an informal investigation into the incident is being undertaken by the QPS. Our communities have no confidence in the current process of police investigating public complaints against police internally. ATSILS has been calling for a legislative change to this process for decades in line with The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) Recommendation 226 which clearly outlines a way to deal with community confidence in relation to such matters.

Recommendation 226 states that in all jurisdictions the processes for dealing with complaints against police need to be urgently reviewed. The RCIADIC recommended that legislation should be based on the following principle amongst many others, specific to police – That complaints against police should be made to, be investigated by or on behalf of and adjudicated upon by a body or bodies totally independent of Police Services. An independent investigation benefits both the complainant and the police, it ensures greater transparency and thus trust in the police service in general.

Media Contact for Mr Shane Duffy:


Download Media Release [PDF]


What is the Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa (Torres Strait Islander Traditional Child Rearing Practice) Act 2020?

A first of its kind, the Act recognises Torres Strait Islander lore in Western Law and establishes a process for the legal recognition of Torres Strait Islander traditional child rearing practice.

‘Meriba Omasker’ and ‘Kaziw Kazipa’ is made up of language terms from Eastern island language and Top Western island languages of the Torres Strait and collectively is translated as ‘for our children’s children’.

Find out more by visiting the Office of the Commissioner (Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa) website:


View the legal information fact sheet developed by Legal Aid QLD, ATSILS QLD and QIFVLS:

Ailan Kastom child rearing practice in Torres Strait Islander families
How do I get Ailan Kastom recognised under the law? 

Interim Legal Service Provider for Torres Strait Islands and NPA Regions

Please be advised that as of the close of business today (30 June 2021), the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (QLD) Ltd will no longer be providing legal assistance and community legal education services to communities throughout the Torres Strait Region and Northern Peninsula Area (NPA).

From 1 July 2021, The Torres Strait Regional Authority has appointed – Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service (QIFVLS) to deliver community legal education services and QIFVLS has also been engaged to provide interim legal services for communities Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area Regions.

If you, or your family, live in the Torres Strait or NPA region and need legal help call QIFVLS 1800 887 700.
ATSILS wish all involved in the interim arrangements (and beyond) all the very best.

ATSILS Temporary Office Closures – during 3 day lock down period.

South East Queensland, Townsville, Palm Island and Magnetic Island are in the midst of a 3-day lockdown which started 6pm Tuesday 29 June 2021, to stop the spread of COVID-19. During this time ATSILS offices located within these regions will be closed.
Please be assured ATSILS (QLD) is still providing legal assistance for our clients via phone and ICT-based services where possible to protect our staff, clients and our communities from the spread of COVID-19.
If you need legal assistance during this time please stay in touch with your local ATSILS office or lawyer via phone! Please do not attend our offices within the listed lockdown regions during this time.
For a full list of office contacts please visit:

ATSILS (QLD) a joint winner at the 2021 Queensland Reconciliation Awards

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (QLD) Ltd was a joint winner last night in the “Partnership” category of the 2021 Queensland Reconciliation Awards for our work with key partners in delivering the Northern Peninsula Area Licensing Muster Initiative.

We would like to extend our congratulations also to key partners involved in the initiative – Northern Peninsula Area Justice Services Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation (NPA Community Justice Group) and Queensland Police Service (Bamaga Station).
The award is a great credit to our team up in the Torres Strait and NPA regions and in particular Annabelle Craft (our Prevention, Intervention and CLE Officer)– whose professionalism and hard work was a key driver of the partnership initiative.
We’d also like to acknowledge C’Zarke Maza our Regional Manager in the NPA and Torres Strait regions, who first raised the challenge surrounding unlicensed driving charges in the regions with the executive – which was then taken up at the departmental level by Shane Duffy our CEO. Whilst with departmental support the wheels were put in motion, it would have been easy for the initiative to grind to a halt – but with Annabelle at the steering wheel, such was never going to happen.
The Northern Peninsula Area Licensing Muster Initiative is a justice reinvestment strategy that has been providing cross-agency, holistic, evidence-based, proactive, and culturally safe support to the five communities of the NPA around licensing, registration, and identity documents since 2019.
The initiative aims to reduce unnecessary contact that Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience with the criminal justice system related to driving and vehicle related offending. Such contact often leads to offenders being sent to correctional facilities located thousands of kilometres away from their community.
The initiative arose through prolonged observation of the high numbers of community members facing court action and punishment for non-violent driving-related offences, as well as social and economic exclusion. It appeared that many community members lacked sufficient or consistent primary identity documentation, immediately precluding them from accessing the services and opportunities many Australians take for granted.
Congratulations to Annabelle, the team and all partners involved. This initiative is a great example of the targeted impact justice reinvestment strategies can have on addressing the over-representation and unnecessary contact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience in the justice system.
To read more on the success of this program visit:

Team Maroochydore take part in the annual Law Week Walk

ATSILS MaroochydoreThe annual Law Week Walk was held on the 18th of May and the ATSILS Maroochydore team were out in force early at Cotton Tree on the Sunshine Coast to take part.
The team enjoyed hitting the pavement to support a good cause alongside colleagues from the legal fraternity including His Honour Judge Long of the District Court and Nambour Magistrates Court Registrar (and sometimes Acting Magistrate) Andrew Walker.
Below is a picture of the team Steph, Luke, Rod, Tim, Donna, Phoebe and Jordy, and Jordy’s daughter Elsie who was clearly the youngest participant by at least a couple of decades!
A great effort by Team Maroochydore.