LawRight News, 15 September 2022

Proactive pro bono

Housing crisis
LawRight is on the frontline of the national housing crisis, which has now broadened to impact many groups in our community but has pressured vulnerable populations for decades, compounding other systemic inequities. LawRight was created to serve these communities, and we have included our clients’ voices in many proactive law reform activities. However, it is still our strategic pro bono collaborations with community support services that offer the greatest impact, especially at the “eleventh hour” when the client needs a legal help to avoid significant consequences.

Emergency help to avoid eviction into homeless
Last week, a young mother and her children faced eviction into homelessness. Her community worker connected her with us as she needed to defend a QCAT application just a few days later. Pro bono lawyers prepared submissions to which the landlord had no satisfactory response and the application was immediately dismissed. Her community worker wrote: “Thank you again for the most amazing support for [our client] during this time… this has bought [her] some more time to find a new residence.”

Crypto scam impacts Centrelink payments
Another client was caught by a cryptocurrency scam, which Centrelink interpreted as assets and stopped our client’s payments. This in turn impacted their access to housing. Our advocacy to Centrelink saw their payments reinstated.

Supporting women in prison
Our financial counsellor and staff lawyers deliver regular tenancy and financial literacy training to women in prison, strengthening their capacity to sustain housing post-release.

The long shadow of Robodebt
We shared our concerns at the first robodebt inquiry in 2017 and will be supporting people who want to engage with the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme.

Joanna, a survivor of family abuse, mental illness and homelessness found casual employment as a teenager, but her life was so chaotic that she did not report this income to Centrelink. Almost a decade later, when her life was getting back on track, she received robodebt letters from Centrelink, alleging a $20,000 debt. She said: “I cried… I thought – my life is ruined now. I’m going to be forever paying this back. I already had pressure and anxiety and it made me want to jump in a hole.”

Joanna entered into a payment plan which would take her more than 38 years to pay off. She continued to receive letters which “petrified” her the debt and took away her hard-won hope.

Red Wine for Justice

All our amazing LawRight services rely on fundraising. After 18 months of delay, we are ready for record bids at Red Wine for Justice on Friday, 14 October. Even if you can’t attend, nominate an agent, form a consortium or sort out your Christmas shopping list (not to mention your bragging rights!) with these auction highlights

  • Picnic for eight, hosted by the Hon Roslyn Atkinson AO and the Hon Ann Lyons
  • High tea for five, hosted by the Hon Margaret McMurdo AC and the Hon Margaret White AO
  • A dozen bottles of 2016 E.Guigal Hermitage Rouge, donated by Craig Rogers of King & Wood Mallesons
  • 2008 Penfolds Grange Vintage, donated by Andrew Crowe QC
  • 1980 Lindemans Bin 5734 Vintage Port, donated by the Hon Catherine Holmes AC

There are just a few tickets left if you want to register to attend. Book here:

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