At the PLN, we are always planning exciting new initiatives about the public law issues that you are passionate about. To find out more about how to get involved with us, have a gander through our events page. Want more info? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Past Events – 2021
The exercise of judicial power is one of the most important expressions of state authority in the Australian constitutional landscape. Yet, it is also one of the most commonplace. It bears repetition, then, to say that the makeup of the judiciary is of paramount importance to the standard of justice delivered by Australia’s court systems and the cultural expectations they set: not only in the legal profession, but the Australian community more broadly. Despite this fact, it is frequently observed that Australia’s judicial officers do not adequately represent the diversity of our community. To speak to this issue, the PLN was joined by His Honour Judge Pillay of the County Court of Victoria. His Honour examined the effects that a lack of diversity among the judiciary has on the impartiality of its members and the consequences this has for justice, society and individual rights.
The last 20 years have seen immigration policy become one of the most highly contested issues in Australian political history. The use of mandatory offshore detention by successive governments, often in untenable conditions, and an unwillingness to follow through with obligations at international law which Australia has agreed to fulfil has caused it to come into the rebuke of UN treaty bodies, NGOs and nation states alike. So where to from here? To answer this questions and others, the PLN was joined by one of Australia’s finest legal minds, Julian Burnside AO QC. With a wealth of experience in immigration and public interest litigation, Mr Burnside delved into the issues of greatest contention and the realities of modern refugee administration, whilst also suggesting future directions in immigration policy.
Past Events – 2020
Climate Justice Action Panel
April 1st, 2020
Featuring stellar guest speakers Dr. Michelle Maloney (Earth Laws Alliance), Bronya Lipski (Environmental Justice Australia) and Dr Keely Boom (Climate Justice Australia), the panel was an invigorating reminder to not stay complacent with our activism during these complicated times.
COVID-19 and the Law: Human Rights and Democracy
May 26th, 2020
In this event, we get an inside scoop on what public law experts have to say on what COVID-19 means for human rights, the functioning of democracy and the future of the progressive law movement. We were joined by Tamar Hopkins, George Williams AO and Tim Lo Surdo as Lee Strike was unable to make the event.
Policy Essay Competition
Due: May 29th 2020
Topic: What is the most important public interest law issue of this new decade? *puts thinking cap on*
Get your voice heard and share with us your thoughts on how an area of public law can promote access to justice and fair policies for all.
Read the top 5 essays on our blog!
PLN at O-Fest – S2
July 28th 2020
This was an opportunity to hear about what the PLN does and what different opportunities there are to be involved in ‘progressive law’ while at university. Later-year law students shared about different experiences they have had and answer any questions.
We hosted a young lawyer working in refugee and asylum seeker law: Laura Chalk. Laura is a solicitor at the ASRC. Laura shared some insights on their career and offer advice. Laura shared some current challenges facing refugees and asylum seekers in light of COVID19.
R U OK 2020: Mental Health in a Global Pandemic
September 8th 2020
This discussion took a close look at the mental health impacts of COVID-19 and sought to better understand what is being done to mitigate them. Is current mental health policy adequate in today’s environment? What issues must mental health services and policy makers be most aware of in their response to present conditions? What is to be done to ensure mental health services are wide-reaching and effective in Australia going forward?
To tackle these questions, we were joined by Christian Lane co-founder of ‘A Reasonable Standard’, Dr Jessica Dean from Beyond Blue and Stuart Muir Wilson and Michael McGarvie from the Ecological Justice Hub.
PLN x PILN: Black Lives Matter
The recent Black Lives Matter movement and #abolishpolice protests have gained momentum globally in Australia. We are devastated that it once again took the public and tragic deaths of more Black lives, to remind us of how the legal system fails Black people every day. Not enough is being done to enact change in the structures in which racial violence, particularly against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, exist. We want and need to do better.
The Progressive Law Network and Public Interest Law Network brought together panellists (Teela Reid and Douglas Briggs) to discuss the legal implications of the Black Lives Matter movement in Australia, the role of law students and young lawyers, and many other topics relating to the what BLM looks like in Australia.
Public Interest Careers Mentoring Program
The PLN is excited to launch our inaugural Public Interest Careers Mentoring Program for 2020! We are inviting all law students who are interested in public interest and other non-commercial law pathways to apply.
Mentees will be matched to a mentor on a one-to-one basis. Students will have the opportunity to indicate their preferences as to which field of law they are most interested in.
Virtual ‘Book’ Club
In partnership with the Deakin Law Alternative, the PLN presents our monthly ‘book’ club where we connect via an online forum to discuss and examine progressive law topics with leading experts. Watch this space.
Sexism in the Legal Profession
Sexism is endemic in the legal profession and has been since its inception. This manifests in many way. Patriarchal ideals and structural biases reinforce a culture in which the allegations against Dyson Heydon surfaced.
We discussed this and more with Kathleen Foley (barrister, writer and past Associate to Justice Hayne), Molina Asthana (Vice President of the National Executive of Asian Australian Lawyers Association) and Josh Bornstein (National Head of Maurice Blackburn’s Employment and Industrial Law Department).