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Scientia Professor George Williams AO

Scientia Professor George Williams AO

Director

George Williams AO is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Planning and Assurance, Anthony Mason Professor and Scientia Professor at UNSW. He has served as Dean of UNSW Law and held an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship and visiting positions at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Columbia University Law School in New York, and Durham University and University College London in the United Kingdom.

He has written and edited 37 books, including Australian Constitutional Law and Theory, The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia and Human Rights under the Australian Constitution. He has appeared as a barrister in the High Court in many cases over the past two decades, including on freedom of speech, freedom from racial discrimination and the rule of law. He has also appeared in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of Fiji, including on the legality of the 2000 coup.

His experience in higher education includes serving as Chair of the Australian Laureate Fellowships Selection Advisory Committee for the Australian Research Council. He was an invited member of the inaugural ERA Research Evaluation Humanities and Creative Arts Committee. He also led a Centre of Excellence bid.

George is a well-known media commentator on legal issues. He has been a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times and an on-air analyst for ABC Television. He is currently a columnist for The Australian, and reviews science fiction and fantasy books for The Weekend Australian and The Bookshelf on ABC Radio National.

George was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011: ‘For distinguished service to the law in the fields of anti-terrorism, human rights and constitutional law as an academic, author, adviser and public commentator.’

 


Maria Nawaz

Maria Nawaz

Co-Head of Strategic Litigation

Maria Nawaz is a human rights lawyer with expertise in human rights, discrimination law and women’s rights.

Maria is an experienced public interest advocate, having advocated for stronger human rights protections with individual clients and the community at the NSW, Commonwealth and international levels. She was previously a Lecturer at UNSW Law, where she co-taught the UNSW Human Rights Clinic.

Maria was previously the Law Reform and Policy Solicitor at Kingsford Legal Centre, where she led the centre’s law reform work on human rights, discrimination law, women’s rights, employment rights, and housing rights. Maria has experience leading civil society engagement with United Nations review processes, including at the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. 

Prior to this, Maria was KLC’s Employment Solicitor where she ran many discrimination cases focussing on sexual harassment, disability discrimination and race discrimination. She has also worked in the Human Rights Team at Legal Aid NSW where she focussed on police torts and visa cancellations, and as a Legal Officer at the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

Maria is the Deputy Chair of the Law Society of NSW’s Human Rights Committee, and an Executive Councillor of NSW Young Lawyers. She was previously a co-convenor of the Community Legal Centres NSW Law Reform and Policy Network, and Chair of the NSW Young Lawyers Human Rights Committee. 


Roxanne Moore

Roxanne Moore

Director

Roxanne Moore is a Noongar woman and human rights lawyer from Margaret River in Western Australia. She is currently working as the Principal Advisor to Change the Record Coalition, and also for the National Peak body on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS). Previously, Roxanne was an Indigenous Rights Campaigner with Amnesty International Australia. Prior to this, Roxanne worked for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. She has worked as Principal Associate to the Hon Chief Justice Wayne Martin AC QC; as a commercial litigator; and has international experience with UNHCR Jordan and New York University’s Global Justice Clinic. Roxanne studied law at the University of WA, and completed an LLM (International Legal Studies) at NYU, specialising in human rights law, as a 2013 Fulbright Western Australian Scholar.


Belinda Lowe

Belinda Lowe

Head of Strategic Communication

Belinda is a human rights specialist with over 10 years experience building and winning human rights campaigns. She has worked across a variety of human rights issues including Indigenous justice, LGBTQI rights, death penalty, people seeking asylum, freedom of association and assembly and workers rights.

Before joining the Grata Fund, Belinda worked at Amnesty International Australia as an Indigenous Rights Campaigner, Media Adviser and activism and mobilisation specialist. During this time she led a campaign to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in Australian prisons with a particular focus on alternatives to prison, conditions of detention raising the age of criminal responsibility. This work included human rights investigations that exposed abuses against children in the Western Australia Banksia Hill prison which garnered national attention and led to changes in prison and departmental practices.

Belinda has also worked on the campaign to prevent the  executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia, the 2017 marriage equality postal vote and the campaign to prevent the lashing of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

Belinda initiated Amnesty International Australia’s Human Rights Observer program, built an online rapid response network, led the development of the global nonviolent direct action guide and pioneered direct networking between human rights activists in the Asia Pacific.

Prior to her work at Amnesty, Belinda worked in the union movement for the Community and Public Sector Union and a range of other human rights, environmental and public health campaigns.

Belinda holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies. She is currently studying for a Graduate Certificate in Political Economy.


Lou Dargan

Lou Dargan

Head of Strategic Litigation

Lou Dargan is a human rights lawyer and advocate with experience working for reproductive justice in the US, transitional justice and victims' rights in Sri Lanka, and exposing child abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia.

Before joining the Grata Fund, Lou worked for the South Asian Centre for Legal Studies (SACLS) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where she worked to ensure victims of the Sri Lankan civil war receive reparations for human rights abuses suffered during the conflict. Before moving to Sri Lanka, Lou completed an LLM at NYU, on a scholarship awarded by the University. At NYU, Lou received the Jerome Lipper Award for Distinction in International Legal Studies and was an International Law and Human Rights Fellow. Lou was also a member of NYU's Reproductive Justice Clinic, where she advocated for the rights of pregnant and parenting women.

Previously, Lou was a senior lawyer at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, working on cases which exposed repeated failures by Catholic Church leaders to deal with abuse. Lou is also an experienced commercial lawyer, having worked for Clayton Utz in their litigation and international arbitration practice, before turning her focus to human rights work.

Lou was tipstaff to Chief Justice Allsop in 2011 and holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts with a politics major from Macquarie University. She received the University Medal in law and was ranked first in her graduating law class.


Simone Whetton

Simone Whetton

Director

Simone Whetton is a partner in the corporate team at Colin Biggers & Paisley. Simone's expertise is in corporate transactions and corporate advisory, with a focus on unlisted companies across key industry sectors including transport and logistics, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and healthcare, energy and resources and technology, telecommunications. Simone also advises in respect of outsourcing and procurement issues.

Simone is a fluent German speaker and acts for many German and foreign companies operating in Australia. She is a member of the Australian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Simone became partner at the legal practice in 2014.

 


Marcia Neave

The Honourable Marcia Neave AO

Director

The Hon. Marcia Neave AO has had a career as a judge, lawyer, academic and public policy maker. She is the Former Chair of the Royal Commission into Family Violence and a former judge of the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Victoria.

From February 2015 to March 2016, she was the chair of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. That Royal Commission was entrusted with the task of making recommendations regarding the family violence support system and justice system in Victoria.

Prior to her role as Commissioner, for nine years she was a Justice of the Court of Appeal Division in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Ms Neave has held chairs at Adelaide University, Monash University and the Australian National University. She was also a visiting Professor on three occasions in New York University’s Law School’s Global Law Program. In 2006 she became the first academic in Victoria’s history to be appointed to the Court of Appeal.

In the Queen's Birthday Honours of 1999, Ms Neave was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her services to the law, and in 2001, she was awarded the Centenary Medal.


Gerald Edward (Tony) Fitzgerald

The Honourable Tony Fitzgerald AC QC

"I'm proud to be associated with the Grata Fund at this critical time for our democracy. Thanks to the Grata Fund, Australians are better able to hold politicians and corporate leaders accountable in court when they fail to adhere to basic principles of accountability and good governance."

Tony Fitzgerald is an iconic legal figure who, over the course of his distinguished career as a barrister and judge, has brought about significant reforms to standards of government accountability, transparency and adherence to the rule of law in Australia. He presided over the Fitzgerald Inquiry into corruption in Queensland’s police force and politics. He has been a Member of the Australian Law Reform Commission and was the Inaugural Chairman of the Queensland Litigation Reform Commission. Among his many governance positions, he was the Chairperson of the National Pro Bono Resource Centre and the Chairperson of the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW. He now practices in mediation, arbitration, and expert determinations in Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, specialising in corporate and commercial law.


Deanne Weir

Deanne Weir

Chairperson

Deanne Weir is passionate about storytelling, change making and gender equality. A former media lawyer turned investor and company director, Deanne's company WeirAnderson.com invests in entrepreneurs and storytellers to help them change the world. 

Deanne is Chair of Ai-Media, a global provider of speech to text services, and Seer Data & Analytics, a technology start-up helping the social sector make better decisions through the use of data and insights.

Deanne also serves as Chair of the Sydney Film Festival, the Grata Fund, and Global Sisters, and as a Trustee at The Asia Foundation. Having served on the board of Screen Australia for 8 years, Deanne remains a member of its Gender Matters taskforce.


Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Robinson

Director

Jen Robinson is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London with a broad practice in media law, public law and international law. She has appeared before the International Court of Justice, has given expert evidence at the UN and regularly engages with UN Special Mechanisms. Many of her cases and clients are high-profile and involve novel cross-jurisdictional and comparative law issues.

Jen has a particular focus on free speech and civil liberties, advising media organisations, journalists and whistleblowers and issues associated with journalist safety, unlawful detention and targetingHer recent international advisory work includes advising the UN Special Rapporteur in relation to the investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, acting for the International Federation of Journalists in relation to attacks on Palestinian journalists, and advising Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in relation to US extradition proceedings. 

She has committed part of her practice to climate change work, which has so far involved advising small island states on international law and climate, successfully challenging a sweeping anti-protest injunction to prevent protests against fracking and having the UK’s fracking policy declared unlawful on climate change grounds.

Before joining the UK Bar, Jen created the Bertha Justice Initiative, a global program to support strategic public interest and human rights litigation and educate the next generation of movement lawyers. Jen serves as a trustee of the Bureau for Investigative Journalism and on the advisory boards of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and the Bonavero Human Rights Institute at Oxford University.