PIAC Celebrates 30th Anniversary
28 February 2013 at 9:28 am
The Not for Profit Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) celebrates its 30th anniversary this week with the launch of 30 years, 30 stories.
"As PIAC celebrates its 30th birthday, we are happily re-telling tales of justice triumphing over unfairness," PIAC chief executive, Edward Santow said.
“30 years, 30 stories offers a snapshot of PIAC's history and opens a window onto significant social and legal changes in Australia over the past three decades.
“But we also recall that the cases PIAC has won and lost only exist because of real human suffering.”
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre is an independent, Not for Profit law and policy organisation that takes strategic action on public interest issues.
PIAC works with people who have least access to economic, social and legal resources and opportunities. This includes people experiencing homelessness; children in detention; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; people who have suffered discrimination; and, those who struggle to access essential services
“PIAC’s 30 years, 30 stories invokes the names of past PIAC greats such as founders, Peter Cashman, the Hon Justice Virginia Bell AC and Terrence Purcell, as well as key former staff such as Andrea Durbach and Robin Banks.
“PIAC was there for the early days of the Sex Discrimination Act, to protect equality of opportunity for women in the traditionally male-dominated steel industry.
“The Australian Iron & Steel case was crucial, because PIAC showed the subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways in which women were discriminated against.
“A particular focus of our discrimination work has been to protect the rights of people with disability. Fifteen years ago, Andy Durbach led PIAC in representing Scarlett Finney, a young girl with spina bifida who was told she couldn’t go to the Hills Grammar School.
“We’ve represented a number of clients who have sought equal access to public transport – most recently, we represented Greg Killeen to make wheelchair-accessible taxis genuinely wheelchair accessible.
“And just this month, Graeme Innes won his case, showing that Sydney’s commuter trains must make audible ‘next stop’ announcements – something that is crucial for people who are blind or vision impaired.
“As we look ahead at our next 30 years, we’re acutely aware that much remains to be done to promote social justice for disadvantaged people. I know that PIAC can achieve amazing things in promoting social justice. We can’t do it alone; but we can do it with your help.”