Mediation Quest
ADRA Publications

ADRA Publications

The very first Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) conference in Australia was hosted in around 1984 by the Australian Institute of Criminology in Canberra. At a side meeting to that conference several founding members, namely Wendy Foulkes,  Linda Fisher, David Newton, Jenny David, Gerald Raftesath and David Bryson (apologies to anyone missed) decided  to form an organisation to promote mediation and Alternate Dispute resolution in Australia and thus formed the very first Board of what was then the Alternate Dispute Resolution Association of Australia (ADRAA) which after two years changed its name to The Australian Dispute Resolution Association (ADRA) as it is today. 

The first President of ADRA was Wendy Faulkes with Secretary, Linda Fisher and Vice President, David Newton. Basil Evangelidis – a Community Justice Centre mediator – was the original Treasurer of ADRA; Gerald Raftesath a litigation partner of what was then Mallesons Law Firm and subsequent founder of LEADR (Lawyers Engaged in Alternative Dispute Resolution) was a foundation Committee member of ADRA as was Janice Williams, a community mediator, and Ruth Charlton (see :Wendy Faulkes, “The Modern Development of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Australian” (1990) 1 ADRJ 6). The founding members  were very active in that first committee of volunteers and participated in developing ADRA’s Constitution, in presenting the publication of the first newsletter, in forming sub-committees including an Ethics subcommittee that began drafting ethical standards for mediators, in forming a domestic violence committee that held the first ever conference on the subject in early 1990, and finally in converting the newsletter to a journal publication with the support of Sir Laurence Street.  

From its inception in 1986  ADRA was a platform in raising awareness around social justice issues which extended to include an ADRA domestic violence conference in 1990 where the prime speaker was the woman who founded the first women’s refuge in Sydney and included a speaker who was a survivor of domestic violence and a resident of that refuge who gave a first-hand account of her terrifying experiences. It was through such awareness raising conferences that domestic violence was finally treated as a criminal offence; and even though domestic violence still occurs today, criminalising it has helped to set the boundaries in domestic relations and has allowed society to come a long way from accepting that “it’s only a domestic”. ADRA is very proud of the part it played to assist such changes in society adopting the vision statement of Building Community through Dispute resolution, a vision statement of which every ADRA member is proud.

 ADRA’s achievements initially included setting up structures for educating mediators through regular seminars, submissions to government, courts and regulators, and later under the Presidency of Katherine Johnson included setting up structures for practise groups, for complaints handling, for standards of training and accreditation, and for advancing ADR through co-operation with other like minded organisations, including those overseas such as with the World Mediation Organization and lately with projects in Mongolia, the Judicial Council of which has become an affiliate of ADRA – all thanks to the strong social justice foundations set by those early founding members. 

 ADRA remains  the longest continually serving volunteer membership organisation for Mediation since 1986.

During Katherine’s Presidency, the following changes were made:

  1. The term for Presidency changed from one year to two years with a maximum number of two terms (four years).
  2. In 2006 and 2007 ADRA steered the formation of a nationally accepted Complaints Handling template over a period of 18 months where public and private organisations in NSW  involved in Dispute Resolution  (DR) joined forces to  become the Industry Forum for Dispute REsolution (IFDR) which  formed a nationally accepted complaints handling template and contributed to the formation of the current Mediator Standards Board setting the standards for National accreditation for mediators ( see published article for more details) 
  3. During the period 2006-2007 ADRA became a Registered Mediation Accreditation Body (RMAB) 

4 ADRA steered the formation of the Industry Forum for Dispute Resolution (IFDR) later becoming the Council for Alternate Dispute Resolution (CADR) (See published articles) which successfully made submissions to the Government for Australia to become a signatory of the Singapore Convention – setting global standards for Mediation. 

  1. In 2018 and 2019 ADRA sponsored an international project called Building better families in Mongolia to promote mediation internationally as a social change agent (see published articles) 

 To date, Katherine has been the longest serving president of the Australian Dispute Resolution Association (ADRA), joining as an executive member in 1996 and serving as:

 President i

2006, 2007, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2021,2022, 2023 

Co-President with Andrew Wong in 2019 and 2020,

and Vice president in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 ,2017, 2018