In this week’s episode, Geoff is talking to Alexandra Craig who was a Winner in the 2021 Northern Territory Young Achiever Awards.
I am the winner for the 2021 Northern Territory Young Achiever Awards. I am a native title and Aboriginal Land Rights Lawyer working in central Australia. I am a tribunal member for CAAFL, a residential support worker for Alice Springs Youth Accommodation Support Service and a community sports med trainer for CAAFL. I am originally from Adelaide but have called Alice Springs home since early 2019.
Having completed her undergraduate double degree in Law and Business (Marketing) at the University of South Australia (February 2019). Alex successfully completed her Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and was admitted as a solicitor/barrister to the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory in July 2019; she is proudly and gainfully employed by the Central Land Council; working with, and empowering our first nation Australians.
Alex finds value and has a strong passion for contract, property and criminal law, native title, social justice and the application of justice within communities and at an international and domestic level; advocating without prejudice.
Having previously represented the University of South Australia at the 2015 International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Colloquium at Atma Jaya University in Jakarta, Indonesia presenting a co-written paper on ‘The effectiveness of the participation principle in protecting marine diversity in South Australia’. Alex is also fiercely passionate about the environment.
In this episode:
- We heard how passionate Alex is about helping those who may have slipped through the gaps
- And how Alex sees her anxiety as her super power!!
- What was Alex’s ethos? Get involved, take on challenges and assist those less fortunate
Connect with Alex on Instagram
Check out Alex on LinkedIn
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Welcome to the Inspirational Australian’s podcast where we check the people making a difference in their communities
and in the lives of others. And here is your host for today. Geoff Griffin.
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My guest today is passionate about working with and empowering our first nation Australians.
She completed her undergraduate degree in law and business
and also has a strong passion
to contract property in criminal law, native title, social justice, and the application of justice within communities. It’s a mouthful and she does a lot. You’ve got to love it, so stick with us. Her significant community and professional contribution to first nation people. Alex Craig was awarded
mcdonald’s into career achievement award in the twenty twenty one twenty
young achievement Awards which was held earlier this year
in the Peach casino resort. It’s such an honor to have you on the podcast, Alex, welcome.
Thanks, Geoff. That was a very kind introduction. It’s great to be here.
Well, you are a powerhouse you’ve done so much
so much once you’ve won the career achievement award and
what you do also is so purposeful,
meaningful and makes the difference.
Then not all of us have the ability to say what we might my so it is such a thrill to talk with you. And I’m going to unpack some of your career. Why? Certainly by starting
with what led you to an undergraduate degree in law and business in the first place. I
am the I come from a long line of
lawyers. I am the sixth generation of lawyer in my family
and proudly the first female. But
when I was 12 and kind of agonizing about what to do, I had a conversation with my dad was a lawyer and said I’m thinking about doing law and he said don’t do it, don’t do it. You hide it, just don’t do it. And I said, yeah, I thought long and hard about that. And then I had a gap year and I went to work at a commercial law firm in Adelaide for a year to see how I liked it and it definitely didn’t put me off. So I hit the books and the full scope, so
yeah it was just the combination of the business degree and the law degree made sense.
So just an aside, how many times when you were growing up, did you say
to your dad when he told you what to do with your mum for that matter? I object and you cross-examine and we could
no, I don’t think that was any of that. I think it was more so
like friends of ours that would come over.
I mean where that was we had no point of reference. That was just the normal us dad going going to Court sometimes being on the news because the client then. Yeah, that was, it was all very normal. So yeah, there wasn’t too much of that.
They should had some grounding. But what was to come in, you know, I’m sure at the University of South Australia represented at the uni, at the twenty fifteen International Union for the
conservation that’s called totoday.
We present to the current Piper, didn’t you? Can you
tell us about
the Piper, the trip and your passion for the environment?Yeah.
So I undertook an elective at University for environmental law. And I had a fabulous lecturer at the University who really took me under her wing.
And we wrote this the concept of the tyko is basically like under the South Australian marine parks act, there was provision for community participation in the declaration and management of the marine parks.
And basically we were looking into objectively, how
effective community participation is in protecting marinediversity.
So that was the paper
and it was basically about the no fishing zones
and South Australians are very passionate about fishing and the interaction about how the community’s involvement can achieve.
Basically conservation for these really important.
Yeah. Like the biodiversity, I guess the trip we were lucky enough that we were given an opportunity to go to Jakarta, to present the paper. And that was my first time overseas with the University
was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. I think the,
the academic world is one like
We presented the paper at the colloquium and there were people that obviously this is before covid, people there from all over the world. And as a
student, just lapped it up. So
would have been such an experience. Yeah it was.
After completing your degree you move to the Northern territory and you accepted a casual contract
with the central Australian women’s legal service whilst
completing you graduate the legal practice. How did you find the transition to the territory, the work you are doing
and the additional scrutiny?
Managing all that at once?
Yeah, I remember it being a very busy time of
my life. But one that I look back with fondness I think
the central Australian women’s legal service.
They’re a fantastic organisation in Alice Springs with only female practitioners. And I was assisting with the community legal education program.
Yeah, I just remember being very, very busy but I’m still living in Alice Springs. So all of that doing all of that at once didn’t put me off. I still hear
clearly very clearly the universality of it there and such a beautiful
place. Alice, in the territory, it’s such a beautiful place. I love my visits to the territory and it’s so good.
And after successfully completing your diploma and of course admission as an officer of the Supreme Court of the Northern territory and also the high Court of Australia. Congratulations. By
the way. Thank you. Now look at the central land
council aclc. Can you tell us about your role, what’s involved as well?
the central land council is an indigenous commonwealth statutory body. My role at the say is as a regional
lawyer for the South East of Alice Springs. So
I do predominantly native title
and Aboriginal land rights act. So I provide legal advice to native title holders, community
residents and traditional owners about many things. But the main things
are mining matters. If a mining company
wants to mine on Aboriginal land we provide legal advice and assist to negotiate those agreements
assisting and advising in relation to economic development on Aboriginal land. And I basically advise from the acquisition, use and occupation and management of that land. So
it keeps me busy but it means I’m very lucky
that I get to visit some really remote Aboriginal communities and meet some really incredible people.
Yeah it would be fascinating and beautiful to see this native landscape the beautiful people.
Yeah, I can only imagine how wonderful it would be, but it must be a little bit complex as well as some of this law
would be very involved and complex.
I think that’s one of the
things that I really love about work in the field say no two days are the same every, every day is different. But I think I take the most enjoyment from navigating complex legal situations or matters for people in our community. Who are
AFL, I mean,
yeah, I think that’s, that’s why I do what I do.
And clearly you do well. You’ve been in the territory and
particularly Alice Springs now for a while.
What are some of the other things you get involved in? I know you’re involved with the community sports as a community sports made, trying to see the AFL. Tell us about that and what else are you up to?
So yeah, I do. Some sundaes. Go down and support the community football program. So that’s all the remote
communities they come in and play footy
on a Sunday. So I assist with sports sportsmen.
So that’s just prevention management of injuries. What it looks like is someone
maybe doing typing first aid on the football game. I’m really passionate about football in the center because I think the
benefits of football last a lot longer
after that final siren goes. I think it really has
an incredible purpose here.
The other thing that I do with AFL until the seeWAFL
up here is that I’m a tribunal
member. That something that kind of came about through doing sports, made it on the tribunal and sit on matters where players the charged with
various offenses. And I think that experience has been incredibly formative. What else can I do?
I am a residential support
worker at the Alice Springs youth accommodation support service.
I got involved with that
organization because I think
sometimes it feels say we’re dealing with bigger picture things that I think the thing that I love most about myself is when I
get to Liaise with clients and have that client
contact and build that relationship. And so that’s why I kind of got involved with ASICs. I mainly assist with the moms and Bob’s house, so
that’s a home that they have. And it’s the 12 to twenty year old
Northern territory females who are pregnant or expecting.
And really that’s where they go when they’ve got nowhere else to go. So it’s about providing a
roof over their heads, meals structure, making sure they go to school
if that’s what they want to achieve. And
yet I found, you know, moving to the territory, the territory territory is being quite
new. But I think what’s made the transition really
easy or easier has been to get involved
as much as I can. And that’s what I’ve tried to do here.
Well, it sounds very rewarding and very, very important as well. What do you actually enjoy most about your work in the broader picture?
Well, I’ve just come so lost weight. I’ve just come back from a four day Bush trip. We were
at remote doing a native title authorization
because I’m still still learning the ropes and I’m still what they would classify. A baby lawyer I haven’t been practicing for for a very long time, probably three, three or four years. I’m still really enjoying learning, like I think every day
I’m thrown into situations where I’ve
never experienced those matters before and I’m just enjoying learning
and just the challenge. I think it’s been really, really interesting.
Just a little tip. We’re always learning
stuff, but I think it’s probably a bit more interesting learning new around you a little bit of what you already know. Yeah,
I think it’s a combination. Yeah. The combination of being able to go to a really remote places in Australia
and then dealing with really interesting parts of the law.
Yeah. That would be a very fascinating and beautiful to see it all come together and to meet new people and particularly those that you’re making a difference for. So that would be pretty cool.
I mentioned earlier you won the twenty twenty one mcdonald’s entry career achievement award.
Congratulations, by the way on. That
must’ve been a real
to win that award.
Well, on the night I won the award. I actually had gastro so I couldn’t fly up to Darwin. Probably a good idea and
not be on a plane. I to be nasty.
So it was definitely a thrill.
Yeah, no, I was really honored to win, not what it was really unexpected. But I really firmly believe that
are recognition not just of
finalist, but of the organizations that they work and involved themselves with
a hundred percent that’s spot on. And I say to people
all the time,
it’s not just the person that wins an award, it’s the collective,
the people that work with those around them those that
support them. And the people that help in whatever it is that they’redoing
such a broad impact.
And appreciation for, for the achievements and we never do things on our own. All of our achievements are never an individual thing that
often a collective
can be a small or large collective of people supporting and making a difference and contributing in some way. So yeah,
one hundred percent. Right. And more with the
Awards nominations for the current program. We’re closing soon.
Would you encourage our listeners to nominate someone and if so, why?
Yeah, absolutely. I think
because of the reasons you said, I mean it’s the collective it’s about providing recognition to someone in the community who’s doing really important work, but also shining a lot on the people they work with and for
Yeah absolutely. If any of our listeners would like to find out how to nominate someone or more about sponsor partnership opportunities, check out the Awards Australia dot com website
for interrupting this weekly dose of inspiration to tell you about a new initiative that we’ve launched for people to join our tribe in supporting inspirational Australians just like Alexandra. It’s our Awards membership. How does it work well for 50 dollars a year now I’m told by a reliable source that only 14 cents a day. You can get involved and become an Awards member. And the best part is 100 percent of the proceeds go toward prize grants for our winners. Again, just like Alexandra, it gives people a chance to directly contribute to the community champions that we celebrate for the community achievement Awards. And the young achiever Awards. As a member, you get first access to our notifications about the Awards and new announcements. Plus we give you some shout outs to social media in our quarterly newsletter and throughout the year on this podcast. So I’m super excited to acknowledge our inaugural Awards members. Now we’ve just launched this and right away we’ve had two incredible people jump on and support it as soon as we launched it. So a huge shout out to Don Evans of developing potential Australia. She’s in tazi, developing potential Australia is a wonderful organization to provide all the corporate training that anyone could possibly want. And I daughter as well, has been a judge for a number of years on our young achiever Awards and tazi, the Venky Donna and secondly, Judy purkiss. Thank you, Judy for coming in a board member as well as supporting the community champions and also the young people that we celebrate for the Awards that we run. So to Donna and Judy, thank you, and I can’t wait to see who is going to be the next Awards member here to award Australia dot com slash up to see more details and super easy sign up process. I want you to join outdrawn. Now back to today’s podcast
I, what’s something we might not
know about you?
What’s troubling you? I not know about me.
I have lost my partner, and I bought a house in l’esprit.
Yeah, so that’s been very exciting.
That’s one thing I guess
and the other thing is I’m quite a big nerd. I’m impartial to what of the rings star like? Guilty pleasure. Right. And I think
So you bought a house with your partner that’s. That’s very exciting. Yeah. Like all these nerdy type shows. That’s pretty cool.
Tell it what else to do in your spare time Besides watching TV shows come on
I play Netball here in Alice Springs, we are renovating the house that we bought
So that’s been really exciting.
And just spending a lot of I think it’s important because I
am quite busy in my professional life it’s a thing I found and, and to have that downtime. So that might be
taking a walk with the dogs or
going to the gym with a girlfriend or listening to a podcast. So I do really enjoy my downtime.
I think there’s something valuable there for everybody. When you’re busy in your life, you really need some time to yourself, whatever that means, whether it’s you and your partner, whether it’s to buy yourself,
fitness regime, whatever it is, you need to find something that will help you to step aside from the anxiety the stress and busyness of daily life. I think that’s, that’s awesome. To hear, definitely that you’re around all those records, you need to be in your job. It would be high stress. Yeah.
It is but I think I’m very lucky. We’ve got a very good work culture. I remember when I first started there
and I sent an email on a Saturday, and my manager came up to me. She’sa
very strong intelligent lady. And she said, why are you sending an email on a Saturday? She was like, we don’t do that, we don’t need to do
that. And I think there’s,
you know, people that I went to law school with, but I feel, yeah, I feel
sad for them and sorry for them that I mean, across our industry. I mean, I think I’m one of the fortunate ones, but it’s not always the case and I think
there needs to be more
leaders in our industry that create those boundaries. So that others practitioners, we do get that time to recuperate and recharge,
recouping and recharging are really important as we say that however you do that. Whatever works.
You need to find that way and make sure you really take time to do it
because it is critical as life becomes busier and busier with technology, you remember because you probably weren’t born, but that technology ideally was there to give us more time to ourselves. But it’s actually been the opposite that
an escape from emails and the expectation that we will respond. So
I think boundaries is a fantastic principle. What are the driving passions that makes Alex tick?
One of the driving. That’s a great question.
I think I
grew up in a family that took a lot of pride and placed a lot of weight on life. I know that I’m extremely fortunate to have gone to school to have graduated from University and to now be working. And I think that how lucky I am was never
I never didn’t know that I was lucky. And I think because I am, I’ve grown up
in a privileged situation where we’re always taught that there’s an obligation on those of us that come from that privilege to
see those in our community who are
less fortunate, who have slipped through the cracks. And I think, well, definitely in my, in my profession you encounter people
that Yeah, they have slipped through the cracks, but they’re still someone’s son someone’s brother, someone sister
and everyone has a story. And that story deserves to be told that that’s what makes me tick. I guess because I’m passionate about advocating for those who are less fortunate.
What’s a good reason to take because they’re all very purposeful. And it’s great principle to live by. And you’re right and everybody, you know, our motto is to make a difference, but
If we can’t, everybody in the world would be such a nicer place to be a part of and we would all feel much more confident happy about ourselves as individuals.
Oh absolutely. Yeah. I think that’s absolutely true.
But there must be times when it all gets a little too much. You’re feeling a bit low.
What do you do to help sit
back and recharge yourself?
Oh, absolutely. I haven’t really spoken about this publicly too much but I do suffer from anxiety. And there’ve been
periods in mylife
where I’ve been quite sick with anxiety and I don’t think I
recognized it at the time. But I think as I’ve gotten older and my support network has really shown up for me, I think I’ve been able to manage it and now I manage it quite well
on my own. And I feel like the things that have assisted Managing my
anxiety and both have been exercise one,sleep
spending quality time with the people that I
love. Yeah. Whether that be
yes as I said before, like a walk with the dogs or a coffee with a girlfriend ora
time with the family. They’re all things that I know now that recharge and my batteries when I’m feeling
fine. But I also think it’s quite normal. So I think it’s really normal to have those ebbs and peaks and troughs in your life. And I think we’re not meant to be happy all the
time. And I’m really passionate about being really honest about my experience. So that
others feel more comfortable or you know, they don’t feel abnormal or they don’t feel that
because they’re battling a mental illness or feeling
not quite themselves that that’s OK. But it’s taken me I’m twenty eight, twenty eight in a couple of days. Taking me twenty eight years to feel comfortable saying that
Yeah, it’s a tough one, isn’t it? And the problem is we don’t feel comfortable, we feel ashamed. We feel embarrassed. Whatever it is. And it builds up and all the things that you talked about that you do to help relieve that stress. And that anxiety,
thanks for sharing that with us.
Our old tried and tested and brilliant ways, all of them or some of them for all of us to take on board and utilize. And if you don’t have a network around you that you can talk to, there’s always a
just pick up the phone and chat to someone even if it’s not about your problems, your anxiety, whatever it is that’s getting you low, just chat,
just talking sometimes
or listen to someone else’s problems. Is a help as well. And the thing that I hear from most of our young achiever finalists and winners is that they’re so inspired by the fact that there are others like them that are working so hard to make a difference. But they all have their moments, their highs and lows and to know that there are others like them in the same position is really helpful. It’s really comforting, but also motivating. So it’s great to be able to tell your story. And I think we’d all be surprised how many people for exactly the same position and you’re right. It’s. Yeah, yeah. So it is nice to think that we could be happy all the time. It’s probably not a reality.
But we need to deal with how we
cope with those online moments and how we set out, reset ourselves. It sounds like, yeah, yeah.
You got your head screwed on pretty good.
Thanks Geoff. Yeah, I mean the flip side of having anxiety is it’s kind of, I think it is a bit of a superpower. An anxious mind is thinking about all the possibilities of what could go wrong. So in that sense, I feel like that always overprepare.
And I think that’s one of my strengths as well as one of my
I know that you know, that is me. And I’ve, I’m comfortable with saying that.
Yeah, I live with anxiety and I manage my own body. Yeah. As you said there are many of us out there
that do exactly the same. So
I think it’s all about letting,
letting people know that they’re not alone.
anxieties caused from stress and we all feel stress. It’s how we deal with that stress
that defines the outcome at any particular time.
We were designed to have stress and I guess,
going back historically, fear is an important fact in our lives to be able to deal with the situation. And we’re still faced with it every single day, multiple times. How we deal with that is, is really critical to how we, how we grow and live within a given situation.
what’s next for Alex?
What is next? I see so I’m really loving my time in central Australia.
I have no plans to move at the moment. I
have enrolled in a masters of law at the Australian National University so I’ll be starting that next year. And I’m saying that I’m here so that I’m accountable.
Exactly. We’ll come back and find out.
Yeah I guess it’s a bit of a bit of an unknown but I think as long as I keep living my ethos which is get involved
take on challenges and assist those who are less fortunate. I think I think the future is bright.
I think you could well be right.
Do you have any words of wisdom you’ve already given us many,
you have any other words of wisdom from listeners?
And I think going back to what you said before, I think
the main thing is
and it sounds really cliche
is just be kind I think be kind be on a
trusted gut and start writing with a big list person. I think if it’s written on a leaf, forget what you’re doing and I think it lists a great goal setting and taking things off and
on and making things happen. So
I guess there might be four words of wisdom of little
bits of advice.
They’re good bits of advice or at least
it gets too long
to procrastinate, but I’m not,
not admitting to that.
And the list goes too long. So I think I’m not going
to be stressful and depressing.
But how does it feel when you take those things off the list? I
transferred from one Patrick mcgorry to the next,
which doubles my workload. But
now it is very good when you’re it off. I
couldn’t agree more. And I always
ask people who are a bit old fashioned to keep a hard copy diary so they can take
interesting, hard copy hard copy diary all the way.
Yeah, I’m not the only one. I’m not the only one is a young one that does the same It’s not just for us out of this. Where, where
can our listeners connect with you online or get involved in some of the things that you do?
I would welcome any listeners to contact me on LinkedIn or via my Instagram handle, so it’s Alexander Craig on the school and of course, and feel free to write chat there.
signed with the LinkedIn, Alexander Craig,
I think so. I’ll give it
to you and we can put it in the photo. OK.
Well, Alex, it’s been an absolute pleasure to chat with you today to have you on the podcast has been a true inspiration for many,
Thank you. You’re an amazing young woman. You have a lot to give and to do that
None of us are perfect, but your
balance as you can be,
and you’re a great role model to so many so
thanks so much for sharing some of your story with us today.
Thanks Jack. It’s been wonderful to come on here and have this chat with you today.
Good luck with your future for all that you’re doing to help make a difference in the lives of people in
the territory and Beyond. I’m sure one day
and into next week I hope everybody’s really enjoyed listening
to my chat with Alex today and remember, please be kind and together we make a difference. I hope you enjoyed today’s interview as much as I have. We would love you to subscribe to our podcast, that you won’t miss
an episode showing us each week as we talk
with ordinary Australians. Achieving extraordinary things.
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So it’s goodbye for another week. Remember, together we make a difference.
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