PIAC – At the Heart of Law

“What happens with officers are too tough when they cross the thin, blue line.” “Part of this healing of the nation and coming together and having a mature nation, there has to be proper truth telling” “We have here an environment which is inherently toxic. It has these characteristics which cause harm to people’s mental health.” “The government’s approach is to make sure that the government determines who comes to our country and who doesn’t” “Australia has to hear us for goodness sake.” PIAC really exists to create social justice we’re about trying to make systemic changes and look for ways to make our laws reflect broader values and not just the interests of a few I really wanted to work at PIAC because there are lots of different areas that we work with Aborginal and Torres Strait Islander justice, asylum seeker health rights, rights against the police and rights in detention. The best thing that we can do is harness all of our respective expertise to work out what strategic litigation we should be bringing. PIAC sets out to impact advancing human rights and having systemic change. The Towards Truth Project is PIAC’s ground work research to elevate the story of Indigenous peoples’ and their experience of colonisation. It’s digging into this violent history that First Nations’ people have been impacted through. Hopefully the outcome is more communities are able to heal through this process. We were overwhelmed by the number of health issues in immigration detention. Like, the lack of anti-viral treatment for people living with Hepatitis C, so we went about having media about the issue, talking to decision makers. We were able to convince them all people should have access to life-saving treatment. Litigation is complex, time consuming and it’s expensive. Many of our clients come to us because they’ve been disadvantaged, but they don’t want to seek change just for themselves. Solicitors at PIAC are in a unique position where we’re able to assist individuals, but also obtain lasting and systemic change. The law impacts us so much every day in little ways, in big ways. If we can be thinking creatively about it to solve every day problems but also big, structural problems and collaborate with people, then that’s terrific. Power doesn’t give itself up, power needs to be pushed back against. You need organisations like PIAC to ensure that there is accountability, that our democratic institutions are defended and always kept vibrant. One of the best things about working at PIAC is the clients, their passion to make change for their communities gives us then a greater passion to try to get the best outcome possible. I feel a part of a community of really passionate and committed people who are all working towards social justice. My hope is that our work encourages everyone to come together to create a more just and equitable, legal system.

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