Two Aboriginal women are proving that all you need is a good idea and the guts to go after it to realise your dreams. They have launched a fashion label called Deadly Divas Clothing that incorporates Aboriginal designs into contemporary clothing and they are proving that Aboriginal style can be “divalicious.”
Young Indigenous lawyer Stephanie Parkin is keen to pursue any aspect of the law that can assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Having won the Queensland Law Society prize for the final-year Indigenous law student with the highest grade point average, Stephanie recently started work at leading Brisbane law firm, McCullough Robertson Lawyers. The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) law graduate credits a high school teacher for motivating her interest in pursuing a legal career.
“I did legal studies in high school and I enjoyed it very much. I was encouraged by my teacher to think about studying law – I suppose he saw something in me that I didn’t at that stage,” Stephanie says.
“I’ve always seen law as a way of helping those who are less fortunate. It’s a privilege to be able to study law and help people who are in need.”
Although she initially thought criminal or family law would be her main areas to concentrate on, Stephanie has since realised there are many areas of the law such as native title and cultural heritage where she can share her expertise with Indigenous communities.
“I think it’s important to have more Indigenous lawyers representing our people and our interests, and for us to be in the mainstream environment as well,” she says.
As a law student, Stephanie took an active interest in the native title claim of her people – the North Stradbroke Island-based Quandamooka people. The matter had been in the court system for well over a decade when she became involved in attending family meetings to ensure Aboriginal families were updated on the progress of the claim.
She says it was “very exciting” when a determination was handed down in July last year recognising her people as the traditional owners of the land.
As she embarks on her career, she says she is excited to meet new people and develop her knowledge base and skills.
“I feel as though I have been studying law for so long, I just can’t wait to get out and do it.”