Getting to know...Paula Gerber
Name: Paula Gerber
Title: Associate Professor & Deputy Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
How long have you worked at Monash? I’m coming up for long service leave so that means I have been here almost a decade.
Where did you work prior to starting at the University? The University of Melbourne.
What do you like best about your role? Working with great people and the opportunity to undertake research into human rights law that leads to positive law reform that has a real impact on people’s lives.
Why did you choose your current career path? I love the law, but was burnt out from 20 years in private practice. Moving into academia allowed me to pursue my love of the law in a more fulfilling way.
First job? I finished high school at the age of 16 and started working as an articled clerk in a law firm in Brisbane, whilst studying law part-time.
Worst job? Serving ice-cream at Baskin Robbins in San Francisco whilst awaiting word of whether I had passed the California Bar Exam. I did pass, and promptly quit that job, and went back to being a lawyer!
What project are you currently working on and what does it involve? I am answering these questions in Perth where I am currently undertaking research into the barriers that Indigenous Australians face getting a birth certificate and the impact that not having a birth certificate has on participating fully in society. For example, without a birth certificate, you can’t get a driver’s licence or passport, open a bank account or get a tax file number. I’m doing this work pursuant to an ARC Linkage Grant ‘Closing the Gap on Indigenous Birth Registrations’ which will hopefully culminate in law reform to redress these problems.
What is your favourite place in the world and why? Home with my family! Being away from my three little kids (like now) is tough.
What is your favourite place to eat and why? Nobu – because I love Japanese food and I love Mexican food, so their sashimi tacos hit the spot!
What is the best piece of advice you have received? Make sure you die without any regrets.
Tell us something about yourself that your colleagues wouldn’t know. I love musicals (much to the annoyance of my partner, who at the mention of musicals mutters something about preferring to stick pins in her eyes).