Welcome to the September 2017 issue of AUSTRALIAN PRO BONO NEWS, the Centre’s monthly newsletter providing stories and articles of interest to the Australian pro bono community.
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5 September 2017
The recent remarks by Minister Peter Dutton on Radio 2GB that lawyers who act pro bono for asylum seekers and refugees are “playing a game with these people” caused considerable consternation across the legal profession. In response to the Minister’s remarks, the Centre issued a media release defending the commitment of lawyers who undertake pro bono legal work in Australia and strongly rejecting his suggestion.
The Minister’s comments are regrettable, but they have provided an opportunity to let others know about the remarkable work being done by pro bono lawyers across the country, particularly those in large law firms. Through traditional and social media coverage, the response has shone a light on how government supports and encourages this work. The response has also drawn attention to the broad range of work that lawyers do for those experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation in our community and the organisations that support them.
This month we have been busy meeting with in-house corporate legal and CSR teams following the launch of our new in-house corporate pro bono guide published in partnership with the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Law Society of NSW. We have had an excellent reception from the over 15 teams we have now met and will be formally following up in the new year with a forum for in-house counsel to discuss their progress, experiences and challenges.
The 2017 Target report will be released in the next few weeks together with a discussion paper to mark the 10th anniversary of the Target. The Centre would like to thank the law firms that attended a recent roundtable to identify the issues for discussion.