Brian Walters SC Testimonial
Public Interest lawyer: Brian Walters SC
Organisation: Victorian Bar
Speaker, Progressive Law Network Legal (r)Evolution Conference 2011
To see Brian's speech on asylum seekers on the Seeking Asylum in the 21st Century panel, visit the Progressive Law Network website.
Short biography: Brian Walters SC is a past president and current committee member of Liberty Victoria, one of Australia's leading human rights organizations. For many years he served as Vice President of Free Speech Victoria. He has written and spoken widely on human rights issues.
He is the author of the book "Slapping on the Writs", which concerns the use of litigation to silence community groups. Brian co-founded "Wild", Australia's wilderness adventure magazine. Recently he has acted for Tamils charged with terror offences in Melbourne, and for plaintiffs who sued South Australian police over treatment at a demonstration. He successfully defended Doctors for Native Forests - the twentieth of the Gunns 20 defendants.
Law: Where did you start and how did you get where you are today?
I started studying law, but loved the bush and other things and tried to integrate my values with my legal profession.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced during your career?
Discouragement, finance, professional isolation.
What advice do you have for lawyers and law students wishing to pursue careers paths focusing on positive social change?
Try to pursue professional excellence. Keep inquiring. Take an interest in things outside the law. Develop friendships with colleagues who share your values.
Do you have any advice for law reformists starting out?
Read poetry. Listen to music. Go out into the bush. Engage with friends and family. The best innovations spring from the fabric of a full life
What do you think will be a key are of law reform for Australia in the next 10 years and what will be the main challenges faced by those who work in the area?
Climate change. Public discourse is very impoverished, and giving voice to the challenge will be its own challenge. People fear change, but change will either be chosen or forced upon us.