Cleonie Quayle is a Malyingapa woman from the Barkindji nation and is an Aboriginal Field Officer and Paralegal at RLWG. She has worked in the field of law for roughly 20 years; her specialities include Stolen Generations, social justice for Indigenous people, Aboriginal mental health issues, family violence and the impact of the criminal justice system on Indigenous people. Cleonie is a Sydney based Advocate, and was the recipient of the prestigious Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales Aboriginal Justice award, in recognition of her outstanding Advocacy on behalf of Aboriginal women and the Community.
She was also awarded the Mudgin-Gal Award for her work in the area of Family Violence and access to justice for Indigenous People escaping violence. Cleonie’s expertise is as an Advocate and lecturer in Indigenous Peoples and the Law. Cleonie has been a guest speaker at numerous conferences and Seminars in Indigenous Peoples and the Law. She has lectured at a number of Universities and TAFE Colleges on: Indigenous Women and the Law; Young People’s rights to access public space, Aboriginal Land Rights, the Stolen Generations and Critical Race Theory, Racism and the Law. She is also the author of numerous publications in Indigenous Peoples and the Law. In her role as paralegal, Cleonie works alongside the rest of the team in advancing the claims of our clients. In her role as field officer, Cleonie offers additional supports to our Indigenous clients (there is no charge for this service) to assist their journey while a client of RLWG and to minimise additional access to justice barriers.
Mat Henderson is the Principal Lawyer for RLWG. After working as a clerk at Turner Freeman in 2008 specialising in dust diseases, workers compensation and victim’s compensation work, Mat worked in entertainment law and intellectual property for some years before starting his own practice doing work with veterans with PTSD seeking access to medicinal cannabis. He remains a strong advocate for drug law reform. He has observed that: drug offences stem from personal use and possession of a substance that was primarily being used to blunt and dull the constant trauma being endured as a result of rape and sexual abuse that occurred whilst a person was previously incarcerated. Mat is an advocate for Harm Reduction Australia and the legal lead for the Drive Change campaign for just and equitable drug driving laws. Mat is a proud fourth-generation Māori Australian (Ngāpuhi, Te Kapotai).
Dr Suzie O’Toole
Dr Suzie O’Toole is a lawyer and a social worker with 18 years’ experience in youth work, criminal justice and teaching fields. As a social worker, she spent several years working as a youth worker in Blacktown, and then as a Juvenile Justice Officer in Sydney and in London. It was during these early years that Suzie grasped the scale and significance of childhood disadvantage: she was struck by the frequency at which histories of childhood trauma and abuse under-pinned issues such as substance abuse and offending. After qualifying as a solicitor in 2006, Suzie continued her advocacy for young people as a children’s criminal defence solicitor with Legal Aid in Sydney (2006/2007), where her trauma-informed approach ensured she was able to obtain the best possible court outcomes for her young clients. In recent years Suzie has held academic roles, teaching and writing in areas of disability in the criminal justice system and forensic psychology and the law. Suzie is now a full-time lawyer with RLWG. She is passionate about and committed to clients to help them receive the justice that they deserve.