Colin has engaged with Indonesia for more than 30 years, beginning in 1983 with a tax conference in Bali. Since then he has defended Australian inmate Scott Rush on Indonesia’s death row, been a founding member of the Australia-Indonesia Institute and supported exchange programs for Aboriginal, Javanese and Balinese artists.
With all these experiences, Colin has built many personal relationships outside his professional sphere as a criminal defence lawyer, and changed the lives of many individuals he has met along the way.
Colin will share his perspective on what it takes to build friendships which can endure the “ups and downs” of the bilateral relationship. Colin believes that young leaders have a responsibility to use their influence, follow their passions and create a positive impact in their community.
About Colin McDonald
Colin McDonald QC is a retired Australian barrister, Indonesian art and South East Asian ceramics collector, founder and owner of the Made Budhiana Art Gallery in Ubud, Bali and an aspiring Kintamani organic coffee producer in North Central Bali. Colin practised as a barrister in North Australia for over 30 years with a broad practice in administrative, criminal, constitutional law, workers’ compensation, refugee and human rights law. In recent years he acted in the death penalty cases in South East Asia, including for two members of the Bali Nine, Scott Rush and Renee Lawrence.
Colin has had a long association and engagement with Indonesia. A founding member of the Board of the Australia Indonesia Institute from 1989 – 1994, Colin was also counsel in Australia to the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Department for over 20 years. As Chair of the Northern Territory Museums and Art Galleries Board, he arranged for Indonesian artists to come paint and exhibit in the Top End of the Northern Territory.
As Chair of the Royal Darwin Hospital Board and its Regional Engagement Committee, Colin helped broker the very successful Sister Hospital Relationship and nurse, medical and emergency response training programme between R.S.U.P Sanglah in Denpasar, Bali and Royal Darwin Hospital. In 2010, Colin was awarded the prestigious Law Council of Australia’s President’s Medal and in 2011, the Australian Lawyers’ Alliance Award for his outstanding contributions as a lawyer. In December 2013, Colin was appointed an advisor to the Australian Federal Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Colin is an avid bird watcher, being member number 29 of the Bali Bird Club and is now actively engaged in planting bird feeding trees, organic Kintamani coffee, cloves, avocadoes and native Balinese teak in north central Bali.