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Natalie Brown, Lana Chester become first Aboriginal magistrates appointed in South Australia

Callan Morse -

History has been made in South Australia with the state government appointing two First Nations people to the state's judiciary for the first time.

Magistrates Natalie Browne and Lana Chester have been appointed to the roles after being formally sworn in last week.

Ms Chester has more than 25 years of criminal law experience in the Legal Services Commission, and is a senior youth court lawyer.

Ms Browne has almost 20 years of experience in law after beginning in private practice in 2003, and has also worked within the LSC.

South Australian Attorney-General and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Kyam Maher said the appointment of Ms Browne and Ms Chester is a landmark moment in the state's history.

"For the decades and the centuries that we've had the state of South Australia and the colony that preceded it, we haven't had Aboriginal people as part of our judiciary at any level of our courts," he said.

"It is important that the judiciary reflect the diversity of the South Australian population. Aboriginal people have not been represented in areas like this for far too long.

"Both Ms Chester and Ms Browne are exceptionally qualified, experienced appointees with a wealth of knowledge and experience that I'm sure will serve them well during their time in the magistrates court."

Karuna Elder and founding member of South Australia's Nunga Court Yvonne Agius said she was optimistic of further appointments of First Nations people in South Australia's judicial system.

"I wish there were many more taking over, because it's about time," she said.

"I'm 80 years of age and this is the first time I've seen this, and so I'll be looking forward to more joining up in the system."

Both Ms Brown and Ms Chester were participants of an Aboriginal Cadetship program earlier in their careers.

Mr Maher said he was hopeful the pair's promotions would encourage other Aboriginal people interested in a career in the legal system in future.

"I look forward to seeing these women serve in the judiciary with distinction and hope they inspire other Aboriginal people either working in or considering a career in the law, to follow in their footsteps," he said.

"It means also that young Aboriginal people who are considering their options and considering future careers will look to people who have these sorts of roles and say, I can do that as well."

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