ALA new national president: First time a WA lawyer takes role

A West Australian barrister is the first lawyer from WA to be appointed national president of the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

In accepting leadership of the organisation on 1 July 2020, Mr Graham Droppert has reaffirmed the ALA’s commitment to preserving common law rights and ensuring access to justice for everyone.

“For most of us, Australia is an incredibly rewarding place in which to live and work. And yet there are many for whom Australia is not a country of good fortune or good health or respect,” said Mr Droppert. “It is our job to give voice to those who are not so fortunate and to protect the rights of all individuals to access justice.

“Lawyers, politicians and governments can be quite good at having big picture investigations and they often shine a blazing light on injustice and harm. Nonetheless, it took almost thirty years for one key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody – the abolition of automatic imprisonment for fine defaulting – to be finally legislated in WA. Many other recommendations from that Royal Commission are still gathering dust.

“There is clearly still much work for the ALA to do – both in advocating for change to eliminate injustice and working to protect existing legislative rights.”

Mr Droppert is a barrister at Albert Wolff Chambers in Perth and he is also the Honorary Consul-General for Bangladesh. Personal injury litigation involving brain injury, spinal injuries and major medical negligence is his main area of practice at the WA Bar.

Mr Droppert grew up in country WA and attended Perth Modern School in the 1970s. Apart from a few years in Victoria in the 1990s, he has always lived in WA. Mr Droppert studied law at the University of Western Australia.

Mr Droppert has been involved in the ALA for more than a decade, including a two-year period as WA President. Both in the law and in the community, Mr Droppert is committed to supporting those who need a voice so that their interests will be recognised, valued and respected.

The ALA began in 1994 and was originally known as the Australian Plaintiff Lawyers Association. At any one time, ALA members represent at least 200,000 people around Australia. The organisation has had several well-known past national presidents including Tom Goudkamp OAM, Greg Barns SC, Andrew Stone SC and Peter Semmler QC.

“For 26 years the ALA’s commitment to justice, fairness and protecting the rights of the individual has not wavered. Our values and principles are relevant whether we are fighting for justice for someone injured on the road or in a workplace accident, a survivor of abuse, someone in immigration detention or a person with a disability,” said Mr Droppert.

Mr Droppert takes over from NSW solicitor Mr Andrew Christopoulos, now the ALA’s immediate past president.

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