Gemma Acland

Native Title
Winter 2013

I undertook an Aurora Internship (Legal) in the 2013 Winter Intake. I was placed with the Kimberley Land Council (KLC), a Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) in Broome, Western Australia. I completed a variety of legal tasks on placement including; research, drafting and observing negotiations. I also completed administrative tasks such as going through archived files, photocopying and taking minutes at meetings.

I studied Arts/Law and first became aware of the Aurora Native Title Internship Program through the law school. Before doing the internship I had little experience in the area of Indigenous affairs and less understanding of the native title system.  Despite this I had always been interested in doing an Aurora internship. I was able to count the time I spent on placement toward the practical component of the Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (GDLP). I also completed some GDLP tasks on placement.

Like most Aurora interns the highlights of my internship were provided by opportunities to attend meetings out on country. I took minutes at meetings of groups at different stages of the native title process. The first meeting I attended was a large claim group who had a claim awaiting determination. The second was the meeting of a prescribed body corporate (PBC), a body made up of traditional owners to manage native title once it has been recognized. In my last week I went to a meeting where a claim group authorized a new native title claim. This was an interesting process and a great way to end my internship on a positive note.

Through the internship I gained a greater understanding of the ways in which the rights and interests of individuals and communities intersect on many different levels inside and outside of the native title process. My experience has given me much more of an appreciation of the past, present and future complexities of the system.  It has also led me to consider a career in the area a possibility.
I was very lucky to do my internship in Broome, where I enjoyed the amazing scenery and landscape of the North West. There was also plenty of fun to be had on weekends.  I spent time at the beach, went to the races, took a boat ride, went to the outdoor cinema, played soccer and saw some live music.

Personally and professionally I found the Aurora internship to be a rewarding and valuable experience. I would encourage anybody interested in the area or looking for an alternative career pathway in the law to apply.