Victoria’s Yoorrook Justice Commission has announced the appointment of prominent First Nations barrister and Wirdi man Tony McAvoy to the role of Senior Counsel Assisting.

Mr McAvoy’s career includes being appointed as the first Australian First Peoples Senior Counsel in 2015 and had a role in the Royal Commission into the Detention of Children in the NT.

Over an extensive career Mr McAvoy has developed a strong Native Title practice and last year used a keynote address at the Charles Perkins Memorial Oration to advocate for treaties and truth for First Nations people.

Mr McAvoy will be joined by Fiona McLeod AO SC, who is a member of the National Co-design Group of the National Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

The Yoorrook Commission has been tasked with looking into past and ongoing injustices experienced by Aboriginal Victorians in all areas of life since colonisation.

Professor Eleanor Bourke, Chair of the Yoorrook Justice Commission, spoke about the knowledge
and experience Mr McAvoy and Ms McLeod will bring to Yoorrook.

“In addressing the broad scope set out in our Letters Patent of investigating historical and ongoing
injustices experienced by First Nations people, it is vital we have a broad range of legal experience to
pull from,” Professor Bourke said.

“Mr McAvoy and Ms McLeod both bring a unique set of skills which will help the Commission towards
achieving truth and justice in Victoria and we are happy to have them on board as notable figures in
the industry.”

Mr McAvoy said the first obligation of the commission is to the people of Victoria.

“The task that we have been set is one which involves a great deal of evidence coming forward that may not have been heard before.

It will involve all sorts of soul-searching, and that’s the very first task.”

He said a successful commission in Victoria will lead the way for other states and territories to follow suit.

“I think if we do that will then it will bode well for the other jurisdictions.”