Quarterly news – June 2015

When the law says you don’t need to ask why: how a cancer patient ended up in prison

Our lawyers recently collaborated with Victoria Legal Aid to secure the release from prison of an ill client after learning he had been picked up on an imprisonment in lieu order for missing a fines payment.

When Ari (not his real name) was arrested for missing a payment on his significant infringements debt, no one asked him whether his cancer or his subsequent inability to work much had played a part. Ari, a machine operator who was waiting for a particular cancer treatment, had been following court orders and making payments on his Citylink fines for two years before he defaulted. It may have been his poor proficiency with English that prevented his situation becoming known as he was taken to prison, but the absence of a legal requirement to ask would see him remain there for some weeks.

Read more here.

Congratulations Julian Gardner AM

Our life member Julian Gardner was recognised in the recent Queen’s Birthday honours with a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the community through leadership roles in social welfare, mental health, legal aid and other organisations. We offer our warmest congratulations!

Spotlight on the Neighbourhood Justice Centre

You get a strong sense that Jen Black, Senior Community Lawyer working at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in Collingwood, is driven by a deep conviction that community justice is about helping vulnerable people better ‘navigate through systems’.

Read more about Jen’s work at Insight: helping people out of the legal maze.

Submission to The Royal Commission into Family Violence

Our Social Action, Policy & Law Reform Manager, Meghan Fitzgerald, recently worked with the Homeless Person’s Union of Victoria (HPUV) to record submissions that were then presented to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

The mission statement of the HPUV is ‘to build an effective and self-sustaining organisation whose goal is to ensure the human rights of the homeless and powerless are not ignored but are taken seriously by government, service providers and society. It seeks to do this by bringing together those who have a lived experience of homelessness and those who are passionate about the rights of the homeless.’

In order to make the submission, members of HPUV recorded interviews with people currently homeless and/or with lived experience of homelessness in relation to the terms of reference of the Inquiry.

The development of this submission has required a great deal of courage and endurance for the HPUV. The process has also provided some opportunity for sharing and understanding that has been of significance for members and participants involved. As such, we are extremely grateful to the Commission for receiving these perspectives and for facilitating this process.

Local business partner

We gratefully acknowledge the support of our first local business partner: Caz Reitop’s Dirty Secrets cocktail bar in Collingwood.

Caz Reitop’s Dirty Secrets