School of Indigenous Studies

Tammy Solonec


UWA Law Graduate Tammy Solonec 

I am a Nyikina woman originally from Derby, and grew up in the northwest of WA, before settling in Perth at 16.

I completed my TEE in Perth and gained entry to the inaugural Aboriginal Pre-Law Program at UWA in 1994 and then into the Bachelor of Laws. While a student, I had a cadetship with Dwyer Durack Lawyers and while there worked on a High Court appeal for Martin v State Housing Commission and also won the Women’s Justices Prize in 2000 for a paper on discrimination against Aboriginal people in the private rental market, which was later published in the Indigenous Law Bulletin.   

While still studying, I worked for the WA Department of Commerce developing Indigenous Community Education and cultural awareness training. Since completion of the Bachelor of Laws in 2006, I have been involved with NAIDOC and also commenced an articled clerkship with the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA) working in the Civil and Human Rights Unit in 2007. In 2008 I was promoted to Senior Policy Officer and then in 2009 to Managing Solicitor of the Law and Advocacy Unit working on policy and law reform, community legal education, international law, prisoner support and coronial inquest preparation. A highlight at ALSWA was working on the Ward Inquest, which examined the tragic and avoidable death of respected Ngaanyatjarra Elder and Leader, Mr Ward.

A significant area that I have worked on recently is international human rights law. In 2009 I attended the Annual Asia-Pacific Indigenous Diplomacy Training program in Timor Leste; in 2010 I was a delegate to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York and then the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva and then in Vietnam with the Human Rights Commission. In 2011, I again represented Aboriginal people at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

I left ALSWA after I was elected as a Director of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples in June 2011 under Chamber 3 (individuals), my current (paid) position. I am also an active community member as the Chairperson of ANTaR WA, Vice Chairperson of NAIDOC Perth and Shelter WA, general committee Member of the Law Society of WA’s Aboriginal Lawyers Committee and the National NAIDOC Committee and the Director of Nyikina Yorga Consultancies.

I look forward to using my growing networks, skills, knowledge and experience to influence positive social change for all vulnerable and disadvantaged people.