It makes me excited for the future of Aboriginal organisations around Australia because I have come into contact with so many intelligent Aboriginal students during my time at university that I believe there is a new generation of great leaders about to go back into these organisations.
Congratulations to the 2017 Freilich Indigenous Student Scholarship in Law recipient Kade Alexander.
Kade is a 19-year-old Gunai/Kurnai man from Bairnsdale, Victoria and the first in his family to go to university.
Growing up he considered an apprenticeship before beginning an arts degree in Melbourne, but he decided his best chance for improving the lives of his fellow Aboriginal Australians would be through a law degree.
“A lot of the people who make decisions for Aboriginal communities at a state and federal level are very rarely Indigenous,” he said.
“If I can end up in a position of authority or sit on some boards, then I might be able to make a difference.”
Last year the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation in Kade’s community went into administration after losing nearly $500,000. The group saw four CEOs come and go in four years. Kade said one of the problems was the lack of administrative experience among the directors.
“I mean no disrespect but I see people being placed in positions of power without having the ability to oversee a corporation like that,” he said.
“They’re really good with the people in the community but we need more Indigenous people to learn how to manage an organisation.”
Kade is doing an Arts/Laws double degree and while he hasn’t chosen an arts major yet he is considering either politics or criminology.
“For the first couple of weeks I thought, ‘How am I going to be able to do this?’ but once I’d been to a few tutorials and it started to click and now I’m really enjoying it,” he said.
Kade was thankful to his donors and said he would put the $3000 scholarship to good use through the year. It will allow him to work less and focus more on his studies and cover the cost of a new computer.
“I’ve been using the same computer for five years and I have a five year degree ahead of me so I don’t think it will make the distance,” he said.
“The opportunity it has provided me to be able to live away from my parents and be able to afford the necessities to be able to study have been good.”
Living away from home can be difficult for any young students, but the cultural connection to country Aboriginal students have can make the distance seem even greater.
I’ve found the Tjabal [Indigenous Higher Education] Centre really good and there are a lot of other Indigenous students at John XXIII College so we usually go there together to study,” he said.
“It makes me excited for the future of Aboriginal organisations around Australia because I have come into contact with so many intelligent Aboriginal students during my time at university that I believe there is a new generation of great leaders about to go back into these organisations.”
Domestic applicants who apply for entry into the Bachelor of Laws (Honours) in 2020 through the University’s Admission Scholarship and Accommodation application process will be automatically considered for the Freilich Indigenous Student Scholarhip in Law based on them meeting the eligibility criteria and electing to be considered forscholarships. ANU Admission, Scholarship and Accommodation applications are now open to domestic undergraduate school leavers for 2020. Apply now.