Who Are We?

 

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights Inc (ALHR) was established in 1993, and incorporated as an association in NSW in 1998 (ABN 76 329 114 323).

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights is an association of legal professionals active in practising and promoting awareness of international human rights standards in Australia.

ALHR has a national membership of Australian lawyers, barristers, judicial officers, legal academics and law students, with active National, State and Territory committees.

ALHR seeks to utilise its extensive experience and expertise in the principles and practice of international law and human rights law in Australia in order to:

  • Promote and support lawyers practice of human rights law in Australia
  • Promote Federal and State laws across Australia that comply with the principles of international human rights law.
  • Assist victims of human rights violations in Australia.

Through the provision of training, education, publications, CLE courses, conferences, seminars and mentoring, ALHR assists members to continue to develop their knowledge of human rights law and incorporate human rights principles into their areas of legal practice in Australia.


The Committee

Benedict Coyne - President

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MSt IHRL (Dist.)(Oxon), LLB (Hons I)(SCU), GDLP (ANU), BA (Hist.)(Murdoch), Dip. Counselling (Sophia College)

Benedict is a human rights lawyer and advocate based at a boutique firm in Brisbane. He runs a human rights advocacy and litigation practice with a wide array of public interest cases including. Benedict has been an ALHR member since 2008 and actively involved since 2012 and he absolutely loves it!

Benedict graduated from Southern Cross University in 2010 with first class honours, a University Medal for outstanding academic achievement and various other awards. In March 2016, Benedict graduated from a Master of Studies (MSt) in International Human Rights Law (IHRL) at the University of Oxford graduating with Distinction (highest award).

In 2011, Benedict was Associate to Justice Bromberg on the Federal Court of Australia in Melbourne. Benedict was admitted to legal practice in November 2011 and has admission to practice in Queensland, Victoria and the Federal and High Courts of Australia.

In 2014, Benedict was awarded the national Emerging Lawyer of the Year Award by the Australian Lawyer’s Alliance and Amnesty International. In the same year, he was awarded two 2014 Southern Cross University Young Alumnus of the Year Awards. In 2013, Benedict initiated and was part of the Baby Ferouz legal team (which ran a number of High Court and Federal Circuit Court challenges for asylum seeker rights). The Baby Ferouz legal team was awarded the 2015 Australian Lawyers Alliance (Qld) Civil Justice Award.

Benedict is frequently published on and invited to speak at various Universities and public events on topical issues in human rights law. In December 2014, Benedict initiated national ALHR Human Rights Act subcommittee and over the past 20 months he has been a central part of spearheading the exciting successful campaign for a Queensland Charter of Rights.

Benedict also holds the following extracurricular appointments:
• Member of the Policy Advisory Council of the Grata Fund for Public Interest Litigation;
• Member of the Digital Rights Watch Advisory Council;
• Board Member of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA).

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Kerry Weste - Vice President

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Kerry was admitted as a solicitor and barrister in South Australia in 1998 and has been a member of the ALHR National Committee since 2014. She has practiced in London and Sydney as a criminal defence solicitor and as a Senior Legal Officer for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and has 15 years experience as a litigator and advocate. Kerry has a long held interest in Children's rights and juvenile justice and was a recipient of the The Children's Interests Bureau Prize at Flinders University.

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Scott Calnan - Secretary

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Dr Scott Calnan graduated from the Law School of the University of New South Wales with a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degree, the highest degree in law awarded by that law school. He also holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from the University of New South Wales, a Master of Laws (Public Law) from the Australian National University, a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Western Australia. Each of Dr Calnan’s law degrees specialised in human rights law and practice.

Dr Calnan is the author of The Effectiveness of Domestic Human Rights NGOs: A Comparative Study, which was published globally by Martinus Nijhoff. Dr Calnan is also the co-author with Simon Rice of Sustainable Advocacy: Capabilities and Attitudes of Australian Human Rights NGOs, which was published by the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and the Australian Human Rights Centre.

Dr Calnan convened and taught the course on human rights law at the University of Western Sydney. He has also taught law at the University of Sydney and Macquarie University.
Dr Calnan was formerly a Senior Lawyer at Chalk & Fitzgerald Lawyers and Consultants where his practice focused on acting for indigenous clients and organisations. He has appeared in the Land and Environment Court of NSW, the NSW Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of NSW, the Federal Court, the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal and the NSW District Court. In addition to land rights claims, Dr Calnan has acted for indigenous organisations in matters under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) and the Anti- Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW). He has also advised on the international law of human rights as it relates to indigenous people, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and on matters of administrative and constitutional law.

Finally, Dr Calnan has had longstanding contact with domestic human rights NGOs in North America and Europe. In 2005 he undertook a legal placement in the Legal Department of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the United States, the world’s largest domestic human rights organisation and continues to maintain links to the NAACP.

Dr Calnan maintains a continuing research and practical interest in the management and effectiveness of domestic human rights NGOs both in Australia and around the world.

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Katherine Hinton - Treasurer


Randa Rafiq - Secretariat

Randa Rafiq
Randa is the Clinical and Human Rights Advocacy Coordinator at the La Trobe Law School. Randa has been a volunteer at her local community legal service for 6 years and was recognised for her involvement and outstanding contributions to the legal service and her local community with a Whittlesea International Women’s Day Award in 2015. Randa is passionate about human rights and social justice issues. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a MBA and is currently completing a Bachelor of Laws degree at La Trobe University.

Amy Sinclair - Business & Human Rights Chair

Amy Sinclair
Amy Sinclair joined ALHR's National Committee in April 2015 and established the Business and Human Rights Subcommittee, which she chairs, in September 2015. Amy is an adviser on human rights in business. She specialises in emerging trends in responsible business practices and corporate human rights compliance.

Amy has ten years' experience as a corporate lawyer. She began her legal career with Clifford Chance (London and Hong Kong) and later practiced with Mallesons (Sydney). In legal practice, she gained extensive knowledge and practical experience of the corporate regulatory frameworks and processes, including due diligence and disclosure, that are critical to today's business and human rights agenda.

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Natalie Wade - Disability Rights Chair

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Natalie Wade is a lawyer in Adelaide. Natalie has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor Commerce from the University of Adelaide and a Master of Laws (Legal Practice) from the Australian National University. Natalie has comprehensive experience in examining and addressing human rights violations of persons with disabilities including as an Advisory Member to the Everywoman Everywhere campaign and consulting with government and non-government organisations on ways to identify and improve the inclusion of people with disabilities in all facets of the community including employment and access to justice. Natalie has published academic work in the Alternative Law Journal and Precedent on the rights of witnesses with communication disabilities to access justice in South Australian and Commonwealth courts. In addition to her professional experience, Natalie has a physical disability which brings a personal understanding to the human rights issues facing people with disabilities.

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Tamsin Clarke - Freedoms & (Acting) Human Rights Act Chair

Tamsin Clarke
Dr Tamsin Clarke was admitted as a solicitor in 1980. She worked for 25 years in major law firms, specialising in funds management, privacy, corporate and anti-money laundering compliance, before establishing her own legal practice.
Her degrees are from University of Tasmania (LLB Hons), University of Toronto (LLM) and University of NSW (PhD) and her doctorate thesis concerned racial vilification and free speech issues under Australian legislation. It was her interest in the '18C' debate which led to her first work with ALHR and she became a committee member in June 2014. The "Freedoms" subcommittee, having a wide remit, has been involved in a range of ALHR submissions.
Tamsin provides pro bono advice to a number of non-profit organisations.

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Amy Maguire - Indigenous Rights Co-Chair

Amy Maguire
Dr Amy Maguire is a Senior Lecturer in international law and an active media commentator on human rights issues. She is also the Indigenous Student Liaison for Newcastle Law School. Her fields of research are public international law and human rights, with particular focus on self-determination, Indigenous rights, climate change, refugees and asylum seekers, and the death penalty. Amy has research collaborations in relation to the rights of refugees, human rights and human displacement, legal regulation of climate change mitigation strategies, Indigenisation of curriculum, and blended/active teaching and learning. In 2015, Amy’s submissions and evidence before the federal parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s advocacy for the abolition of the death penalty influenced the recommendations of the inquiry Committee (A World Without the Death Penalty, 2015). In 2016, Amy was selected as a finalist for the Lawyer’s Weekly Women in Law Awards - Academic of the Year Award.

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David Woodrofe - Indigenous Rights Co-Chair

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David Woodroffe is the Principal Legal Officer of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency with 16 years criminal law expertise for Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory and Western Australia. He is a descendant of the Stolen Generation for Retta Dixon Home and Kahlin Compound. He is a respected advocate and manager of legal services to remote regions of the Northern Territory and in 2013 was awarded the National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year. He is the President of Winkuku Rrunbangi body for Indigenous Lawyers of the Northern Territory, member of the Legal Practitioners Admission Board of the Northern Territory. His main interest is the bringing about of a greater understanding of Aboriginal culture in the legal profession and improving the standards of advocacy involving Aboriginal witnesses and defendants. David demonstrates how knowledge of Aboriginal culture and legal expertise go hand in hand.

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Kathryn Cramp - LGBTI Rights Co-Chair

Kathryn Cramp
Kathryn Cramp is a Queensland Solicitor who has worked as an adviser in the Senate, for the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service, as the President of the University of Queensland Union, as the Vice President of Gender and Sexuality for the University of Queensland Union, and in migration law.

She was involved in Senate Inquiries into payment for the turn back of asylum seeker boats, alcohol-fuelled violence and revenge pornography. She also conducted research for the Select Committee on Unconventional Gas Mining.

She has volunteered as the Queensland Women’s Coordinator for Out For Australia and hosted their annual Women’s Careers Panel and their first Trans Careers Panel. She has also volunteered for The Asylum and Refugee Law Project with the TC Beirne School of Law, the LGBTI Legal Service in Queensland, the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service, and Caxton Legal Service.

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Nicholas Stewart - LGBTI Rights Co-Chair

Nicholas Stewart
Nicholas Stewart is a crime and commercial partner at Dowson Turco Lawyers, Australia's only out loud and proud gay and lesbian law firm. Prior to working at Dowson Turco, Nicholas was an intellectual property lawyer at Minter Ellison and Corporate Counsel at Singtel Optus.

At Dowson Turco Nicholas has taken carriage of many prominent LGBTI cases, most notably successfully running a "friends with benefits" defence in a same sex de facto claim in the Federal Circuit Court and representing 1989 gay bashing victim Alan Rosendale in a push for a parliamentary inquiry into gay bashings in Sydney during the 80s and 90s.

Nicholas is the Vice President of New Theatre Properties, the New Theatre being Australia's second oldest community theatre. He is a member of the LGBTI sub-committee of Unharm Australia, a drug law reform activist group, and a pro bono lawyer at the NSW Inner City legal Centre.

In 2009 Nicholas was awarded the Elizabeth Hastings Memorial Human Rights Award and the UTS:LAW Alumni Association Prize at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Nicholas chairs the ALHR LGBTI sub-committee with Kathryn Cramp. Together Nicholas and Kathryn champion LGBTI human rights and law reform.

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Rebecca Dowd - Refugee Rights Co-Chair

Rebecca Dowd
Rebecca is currently working as a refugee law research consultant in Adelaide. She obtained a Bachelor of Laws and Arts from Flinders University with first class honours in 2007, and was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in the Supreme Court of South Australia in 2008. She also holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law (Distinction) from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, and was the recipient of the SNELS prize. She worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for five years in Switzerland and Jordan, in addition to shorter periods with the Australian Attorney-General’s Department and the International Labour Organisation. Her main area of interest is refugee law.

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Khanh Hoang - Refugee Rights Co-Chair

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Khanh is an Associate Lecturer in the Migration Law Program at the Australian National University (ANU), where he was awarded LLB (Hons)/BEc and a GDLP with merit degrees. Khanh has previously worked as a Legal Officer at the AAT (Migration and Refugee Division) and the Australian Law Reform Commission. He is also admitted as a solicitor to the Supreme Court of NSW. He is currently undertaking PhD studies at the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at the University of New South Wales.

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Rita Shackel - Women and Girls' Rights Co-Chair

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Rita Shackel is an Associate Professor of Law at The University of Sydney Law School. Her areas of interest include international criminal justice, gender justice, human rights and ethics. She has a particular interest in sexual and gender based violence and the abuse of women and children.

Rita’s academic awards include the Jones Memorial University Medal for most outstanding academic and professional record. Rita has worked as a lawyer, legal policy officer and academic in a range of settings including the NSW Cabinet Office, The NSW Office of Youth Affairs and The Australian Law Reform Commission. She has worked as a consultant and participated on numerous government, community, institutional and professional committees and working groups, and has delivered training to a range of professionals and CLE programs to legal practitioners, prosecutors and judicial officers in Australia and overseas. Rita’s PhD examined the use of expert evidence in child sexual assault cases. Rita has worked and published widely in the field of criminal justice with particular focus on the sexual victimisation of women and children. She has a special interest in the dynamics of sexual assault and how victims and survivors disclose sexual violence and abuse. Rita is committed to public interest and community work.

She is also currently Chair of the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee.

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Anna Kerr - Women and Girls' Rights Co-Chair

Anna Kerr is the founder and Principal Solicitor of the Feminist Legal Clinic which works to advance feminism by supporting feminist groups and organisations and the women who access their services. Her clients are diverse and include the Coalition for Women’s Refuges, the Women’s Family Law Court Support Service and The Women’s Library. She has a long history in the community legal sector, including undertaking domestic violence advocacy work and related matters.

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Sangeeta Sharmin - ACT Convenor

Sangeeta Sharmin
Sangeeta is currently a practising solicitor in the ACT. She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Science (Psychology) double degree from the Australian National University and is currently studying her Masters in Law (International Law). She has had her work published in The Journal of Legal Pluralism and is currently working on her Masters thesis project. She has volunteered in a number of organisations focusing on the rights of refugees, migrants, women, Indigenous Australians and prisoners. After completing two internships overseas, at the Legal Resources Centre in Cape Town and the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs in New York, Sangeeta commenced working at Ken Cush & Associates, a civil litigation firm in Canberra, as a Senior Associate. Sangeeta also volunteers at the ACT Law Society's Legal Advice Bureau.

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Jarrah Ekstein - NSW Convenor

Jarrah Ekstein
Jarrah Ekstein works in the class actions team at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, volunteers at Inner City Legal Centre, and has been a convenor of ALHR NSW since 2013.

Her interest in human rights began in her pre-law life working in the community services sector with newly-arrived refugees, realising the importance of human rights law in protecting vulnerable people and holding governments accountable to international standards.

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Jackie Antoun - NT Convenor


Clare McKenzie - NT Convenor


Rachana Rajan - NT Convenor

Rachana Rajan
Rachana holds a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Laws from Monash University and was admitted to practice in February 2014. Prior to working in legal practice, Rachana worked in the Victorian Departments of Justice and Premier & Cabinet. In 2015, Rachana joined the Gippsland Community Legal Service in Victoria as an outreach-focused solicitor. Rachana now works as a civil solicitor for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency in Katherine, NT.

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Kate Marchesi - QLD Convenor

Kate Marchesi
Kate works as Research Assistant at the Griffith Institute of Criminology and is in her final year of studying a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice. She also works with the UN Youth Representative and has particular interests in gender equality and Indigenous rights.

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Pree Sharma - QLD Convenor

Pree Sharma
Preetika Sharma is an in-house government solicitor in Queensland. She primarily undertakes matters relating to Commercial, Property, Intellectual Property, Right to Information and Governance law. She graduated from Bachelors in Law and Arts, majoring Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies and Philosophy from the University of Queensland in 2007 and was admitted to practice in 2008. In her law degree, she studied various areas of International Human Rights Law including Immigration and Refugee Law and Public International Law. She also undertook the Griffith University Innocence Project. Preetika has engaged in volunteer community service ever since she was a young girl, fundraising with her local Lions Club for various community projects and has also been active in taking a leadership role for youth in the Indian community.

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Esther Pearson - SA Convenor

Esther Pearson
Esther has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of International Studies from the University of Adelaide. In 2015, she completed an associateship with the Honourable Justice Besanko at the Federal Court of Australia and is currently studying towards her Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice while working as a legal research assistant. She has volunteered and interned with various human rights organisations in Australia and overseas, including the Australia Human Rights Commission and JusticeNet SA, and has a particular interest in the rights of asylum seekers and racial discrimination.

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Nicole Sommer - TAS Convenor


Adam Gregory - Vic Convenor

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Andrew Millhouse - Vic Convenor


Hector Sharp - Vic Convenor

Hector Sharp
Hector Sharp is studying his Juris Doctor at Melbourne Law School. He comes to ALHR with hands on experience advocating for human rights in the Middle East as a freelance journalist and as a legal intern with the United Nations. Since returning to Melbourne, Hector has volunteered his time with the Australian Institute of International Affairs, SAIL, Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation, and Right Now. Hector is currently a paralegal at Norton Rose Fulbright and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, he is also a tutor of politics at Queens College, University of Melbourne.

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Verity Long-Droppert - WA Convenor

Verity Long-Droppert
Verity works as a solicitor at Jackson McDonald in Perth. She obtained a LLB/BA(Hons) from the University of Western Australia, graduating in 2014. Since starting as a law graduate in March 2015, Verity has been actively involved in advocating for LGBTI rights in her firm and the broader community. Along with LGBTI rights, Verity is passionate about gender equality and Indigenous rights (particularly Indigenous deaths in custody).
Prior to her professional career, Verity was a member of the Australian Softball Team, an experience which helped her develop a global perspective on human rights issues and an interest in how to engage Australia’s sporting heroes as advocates for human rights.

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Vacant - Fundraising Chair


Vacant - Human Rights Act Chair