Gilgandra's Teela Reid advocated for Indigenous Australian issues on Q&A

Gilgandra girl: Lawyer for Legal Aid NSW Teela Reid visiting Harvard Law School.  Photo: Contributed
Gilgandra girl: Lawyer for Legal Aid NSW Teela Reid visiting Harvard Law School. Photo: Contributed

A Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman made her second appearance on national television on Monday night to advocate for Indigenous Australian issues.

Ms Reid called for both sides of government to take the nation into a referendum for constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians.  

The Q&A producer contacted Ms Reid about applying for the Q&A peoples panel, after she was one of the audience members to question Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2017.

Ms Reid was raised by her single mother in Gilgandra. There she completed school and played representative basketball and touch for the western region including the Dubbo Rams.

Ms Reid said she grew up with a very strong sense of social justice and was always inspired by stories about previous generations of her family.

“I come from a strong black family. I grew up with stories handed down to me about how my grandparents were forced onto missions and eventually onto Balladooran (between Gilgandra and Dubbo).

“From a very young age I was marched off to lands council meetings, my grandfather Trevor 'Toot' Reid was an Aboriginal activist and he introduced me to black politics. He shared stories with me about his mother, my great-grandmother, about how she was a staunch activist.

Ms Reid said she didn’t know what a lawyer was while growing up in Gilgandra. After studying Health and PE teaching at the University of Newcastle she worked as a teacher for three years. 

When she was selected as Australia’s female youth delegate to the United Nations Permanent Forum in 2010, she was inspired by Professor of Law Megan Davis.

She sat me down in New York and said 'you have some amazing advocacy skills, if you are serious about making change for our people consider doing law'.

Ms Reid thought becoming a lawyer was impossible, but was encouraged to write a ten-year-plan by Ms Davis.

She is now eight-years into her plan and a solicitor at Legal Aid NSW and has practiced criminal, civil and administrative law. Her personal interest in constitutional law inspired her advocacy for the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“The Uluru Statement calls for a sequenced set of law reforms; first, a First Nations Voice to Parliament and second, a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of treaty and truth-telling.

Ms Reid will be in Gilgandra this weekend as the guest speaker at the Gilgandra NAIDOC Gala dinner. 

“I  often visit my family ... but I would like to go home more. My job also allows me to go back to the western region.”