Last week Justices Beach, Niall and I visited Warrnambool as part of the Court of Appeal's circuit program.
We spent Thursday visiting a variety of organisations to gain a better understanding of local issues in the Warrnambool region.
Our visit included: a lunch meeting with staff of the Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative; a visit to the Worn Gundidj Aboriginal Cooperative; a talk with 100 year 5 and 6 students at Warrnambool Primary School; a meeting with lawyers at the Warrnambool office of Victoria Legal Aid and a dinner hosted by the Western District Law Association.
The next day, we heard a criminal appeal at Warrnambool Court.
Before the hearing, we spoke with 30 students from Brauer College and Warrnambool College, as well as several students from Deakin University's law school.
They had all been invited to watch the appeal and had the chance to speak with counsel and solicitors appearing in it.
I also observed a sitting of the Koori Court, presided over by Magistrate Jelena Popovic.
The hearing was a wonderful example of the justice system working at its best, in no small part due to the participation of a number of service providers who came together to ensure a fair and meaningful outcome for the individual and his community.
We learned a great deal through our engagements with the community and we greatly appreciated the warm welcome we received from the people of Warrnambool.
Chris Maxwell, President, Victorian Court of Appeal
Australia is a great country. For some, it is a land of enormous opportunity and wealth.
Yet an increasing number of people, including families, are being forced to make agonising financial decisions every day.
After paying rent and other bills, they have very little left over to meet basic needs.
Many people turn to The Salvation Army for assistance, but our services are continually being stretched, so we rely on donations to help keep our doors open.
As we have done for 55 years, The Salvation Army will call on the Australian community to get involved in the annual Red Shield Appeal, which this year takes place on May 25, 26.
Funds raised from the Red Shield Appeal will allow the Salvos to help support families in crisis, people experiencing homelessness, women and children fleeing domestic violence, break the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction, help troubled youth and provide emergency relief in times of disaster.
So, please partner with The Salvation Army to give hope where it's needed most.
To volunteer or donate to the Red Shield Appeal, visit salvationarmy.org.au or call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).
Neil Venables, Lieutenant Colonel, National Secretary for Communications, The Salvation Army Australia
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