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Head of Strategic Communication
Richard George has been an environmental and human rights campaigner for almost 20 years.
Before joining Grata, Richard worked at Greenpeace in the UK, heading up campaigns to stop forest destruction and human rights abuses in the palm oil industry. This included brokering new commitments to monitor for deforestation and introducing new levels of transparency into the commodities trade. He oversaw campaigns to hasten the end of the fossil fuel sector, including securing a 2030 phase out for new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans, and successfully opposing a £7 billion Covid-19 bailout for the UK aviation industry.
Richard has supported local campaigns opposing destructive road and airport expansion schemes and promoting sustainable transport, as well as helped communities in Southeast Asia to assert their land rights. He has a master's degree in British History from London's Birkbeck University and a bachelor's degree in film and video production.
Ruby Mitchell is a Director, Editor, Camera Operator and a Freelance Journalist.
Ruby first picked up a camera at the age of 8 to secretly film her Mother’s tupperware party and since then has always been fascinated by people and telling their stories. She has now grown her services and specialises in audio and video documentary, interview and journalism, and content creation.
Ruby has worked as a freelance Reporter and Journalist for the ABC, creating content for radio, television and print. There, she specialised in local and rural reporting and has predominantly worked from the Bega office where she covered the bushfire crisis and recovery effort in 2019 and 2020.
Since then, Ruby has established a small business dedicated to providing affordable and ethical videography and content services to community organisations and NGOs. She has experience working with First Nations People, young people and vulnerable communities. Her most recent projects include a short documentary following the stories of homeless children for a youth services organisation and a video documenting an art therapy program for bushfire survivors in Malua Bay, NSW.
Strategic Litigation Lawyer
Oliver Ray is a lawyer and campaigner with an interest in human rights, climate justice and economic fairness.
Before joining Grata Fund, Oliver worked as a campaigner for GetUp and CHOICE. He has worked on a range of environmental, democratic and consumer campaigns including defending public investment in clean energy, and promoting Australian media diversity and press freedom.
Prior to this, Oliver worked in the Human Rights Team at Legal Aid NSW where he worked on police torts, refugee medical evacuations, and for the Prisoners Legal Service. He is also a volunteer community lawyer at the Kingsford Legal Centre, where he previously worked as an administrative assistant and student law clerk.
Oliver was tipstaff to Justice Lucy McCallum in 2019 and holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales.
Scientia Professor George Williams AO
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.’
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 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.
Head of Strategic Communication - Parental leave
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.
Co-Head of Strategic Litigation - Parental leave
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 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.
The Honourable Marcia Neave AO
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.