Munya, an Indigenous barrister originally from the Kimberley region of Western Australia, is renowned for her passion and advocacy work primarily in Aboriginal affairs, women’s’ interests and children’s rights.
Munya is known for her extensive skill-set, interests and networks developed from diverse practical experience ranging from working on the ground in remote communities to influencing legal reform at the highest level. She combines a unique blend of practical legal experience and intellectual rigour to focus on successful, practical outcomes whilst overcoming significant challenges and complexities and has positively represented clients in all jurisdictions.
Munya has a diverse 30 plus year career from being a successful barrister, author, university lecturer, to an effective senior public servant; attesting to Munya’s strong abilities to change, adapt and innovate, drive results, be strategic, engage and influence others and communicate effectively. This success has been borne from a background of relatively high disadvantage, social exclusion and other challenges such as being unofficially within the ‘Stolen Generation’ i.e. being removed from her birth family and having not spoken until 5 years of age.
Munya is forwarded by Melbourne University as a ‘leading Australian thinker’ along with the likes of Laureate Professor Peter Singer, Professor Marcia Langton, (Former) Justice of the High Court of Australia), the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, World Vision CEO Rev. Tim Costello and University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis.
Director Aboriginal Strategy, NSW Department of Family and Community Services: Providing strategic advice to the Executive of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) on policy and program issues associated with ensuring effective client service for Aboriginal clients and communities in relation to FACS service delivery priorities.
Barrister, Victorian Bar – Melbourne, VIC: Developed strong, trusting relationships with clients and key stakeholder groups from diverse age brackets, organisational levels and cultural backgrounds including Indigenous individuals and Aboriginal communities.
Consultant: EVOLVE Communities Pty Ltd – Joint Project Leader and Manager for large and complex consultancy in remote Indigenous Communities of Mornington Island and Doomadgee which involved leading a project team of 30 as well as supporting, training and mentoring local community in developing their own strengths based responses to safety (violence, suicide, drugs and alcohol, gambling, policing) in a highly complex working environment. Aboriginal Cultural Awareness and Indigenous Legal Issues Training across Australia for the government and community sector, including the judiciary.
Lecturer: Gineevee (College of Indigenous Australian Peoples) Southern Cross University – Lismore, NSW. Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS) Curtin University of Technology – Perth, WA: Developed and presented engaging and stimulating educational seminars, lectures and workshops which focused on Indigenous Community Management and Development. Taught Indigenous law units, including Indigenous Peoples and the Law, International Indigenous Legal Issues and Indigenous Peoples and their Human Rights.
Visiting Fellow: Law Faculty – University of Melbourne, Vic: Co-taught the inaugural Aboriginal Peoples and the Law course with Senior Lecturer Maureen Tehan
Solicitor: Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre – Lismore, NSW Community legal education and court representation
Executive Director: National Indigenous Arts Advocacy Association (NIAAA) – Sydney, NSW, Development of Aboriginal Art Authenticity label
Company Manager: Black Swan Theatre – Perth, WA: Management of the national tour of Aboriginal musical Bran Nue Dae appearing in various theatres across Australia. The show included cast and crew of about 80 people. Work involved logistics, media & theatre liaison and conflict resolution as and when it occurred between performers, musicians, crew and other staff.
State Women’s Coordinator: Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA) – Perth, WA: Monitoring, evaluation and review of all the Department’s programs to assess their impact on Aboriginal women and children. Recruitment and management of Aboriginal Women’s Programs officers. Administration and management of a separate million dollar women’s grants budget.
- 2007 Bar Readers Course, Victorian Bar
- 1993 Bachelor of Laws (LLB), University of Melbourne
- 1987 Bachelor of Arts (BA), Major: Anthropology / Minor: History , University of Western Australia
CURRENT MEMBERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS
- Women’s Law Collective (Founding Member) – University of Melbourne, VIC
- Feminist Lawyers (Member) – Melbourne, VIC
- Women Barristers (Member) – Victorian Bar, VIC
- Indigenous Lawyers Committee (ILC) (Member) – Victorian Bar, VIC
- Criminal Bar Association (CrimBar) (Member) – Victorian Bar, VIC
- Commercial Bar Association (CommBar) (Member) – Victorian Bar, VIC
- Judicial Officers Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Committee (JOACAC) (Member) – Victorian Supreme Court, VIC
- Tarwirri (Member) – Aboriginal Lawyers and Law Students Association – Melbourne, VIC
- Secured national and international notoriety as a passionate and engaging keynote speaker and guest presenter and consistently applies outstanding oratorical skills to provide numerous public addresses which recently included:
- IWD Breakfast, Canberra (2012) – Keynote Speaker with Joy Burch (ACT Minister for Women). More information and web reference
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Forum, Canberra (2012) – Guest Speaker.
- Indigenous Hear Loss, Victorian Bar (2012) – Panelist. More information and web reference
- Ethical Leadership, Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne (2011) – Lecture.
- Law Institute Victoria (LIV) Criminal Law Conference – Presenter: Aboriginality and Sentencing Issues (2011). More information and web reference
- Victorian Women Lawyers (VLA) Seminar – Panelist, Religion and the Law – Where to from Here? (2011). More information and web reference
- Australian Facilitators Network (AFN) National Conference – Guest Presenter, Facilitating Across Cultures (2011). More information and web reference
- Progressive Law Network, Legal (r)Evolution Conference – Panelist, A Symposium of Ideas For A Better World (2011). More information and web reference
- Victorian Bar CPD – Presenter, Hearing the Grass Grow – Indigenous Communication Issues in Courts (2010). More information and web reference
- National Indigenous Legal Conference, Canberra (2010) – Speaker, Practicing at the Bar – An Indigenous Perspective and Panelist, Indigenous Evidence Issues. More information and web reference
- AIATSIS Indigenous Astronomy Symposium, (2010) – Presenter, Dreamtime Stars – An Exploration of Aboriginal Astronomy, Newsline Radio, First Astronomers. More information and web reference
- National Indigenous Legal Conference, Adelaide (2009) – Keynote speaker (dinner) with Hon John von Doussa. More information and web reference
- Judicial Officer’s Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Committee (JOACAC) seminar, Victorian Supreme Court – Presenter, Indigenous Cultural Issues in Courts (2009).
- Lecture on Aboriginal Architecture for postgraduate students in the School of Architecture, University of Melbourne (2009). One of the students, Stephan Moravski based his design on a local Victorian Aboriginal legend of the Seven Sisters featured in Munya’s book. More information and web reference
- Regular Guest – ABC Radio National Spirit of Things: The Seven Stars of the Pleiades (2004), Seeking the Face of God (2004), Oh My Goddess! (2011)
- Dinner Speaker and Panelist at the 2012 Indigenous Allied Health Conference. The perspective that they have asked me to speak on is: “With your extensive experience in the legal sector and within Indigenous affairs it would be very interesting for delegates to hear how the health of Indigenous Australians affects and is affected by the legal system”
- Guest speaker and presenter – Standing Firm for Change: A Journey to Justice National Conference 21-23 November 2012
- 2009 Goddesses in World Culture – Praegar, USA , Chapter: ‘Jilinya: Great Mother of the Kimberley’
- 2006 ‘HorseDreams: The Meaning of Horses in Women’s Lives’ – Spinifex Press, Melbourne Chapter: ‘Horse-riding Instructions from an Old Bushie, Or How Not to Fall Off a Horse.’
- 2004 ‘The Seven Sisters of the Pleiades: Stories From Around the World’ – Spinifex Press, Melbourne
- Shortlisted for the American Literary Award (Lamda) as one of the five finalists in the Spirituality section which involved attending the official awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in 2006.
- 2012 Film Script: Coonardoo: Adaptation of Katherine Susannah Pritchard’s 1922 novel. Script co-written with Patricia Hunder (funded by Screen Australia).
- 1998 Video: Sharon’s Story: Raising awareness of family violence in Aboriginal communities and providing advice to young Aboriginal women.
- 1998 Video: Moodeitj Yorgas (Solid Women): Celebrating the achievements of Aboriginal women in Western Australia.
- 1996 Judicial training: Aboriginal Cultural Awareness: Raising awareness of gender and racial bias in the law including cultural awareness of Indigenous peoples and their legal issues. Participants included members of the Supreme Court of South Africa, the High Court of New Zealand, the Federal and Family Courts of Australia, the Country and Magistrate Courts of Victoria as well as several tribunals such as the National Native Title Tribunal