Vol 12 , Issue 6
One of the very real advantages of attending Melbourne Uni is the strength of its student groups. I believe this is only amplified within the law faculty, with the calibre and ambition of students making for student societies capable of fantastic advocacy and even better events!
In my two and half years at MLS I have clearly seen the impact students can make from within these groups. From the Later Law Student Network (LLSN) advocating on behalf of students with parenting responsibilities (how do you look after a baby/toddler/TEENAGER! whilst studying law!? I’m in utter AWE), to the LSS’s first ever Indigenous rep rightfully calling for greater recognition of Indigenous law and sovereignty in our classes.
This week nominations open for positions on the 2017/18 MULSS Committee. The LLSN will likewise have an AGM coming up soon. Similarly, toward the end of semester De Minimis has its AGM where you can nominate on the day for a number of positions.
I would encourage any students interested to nominate and run for positions. Involving yourself in such groups on an organisational level is an extremely rewarding experience. Not only does it give you the opportunity to grow and develop as a leader, it also provides a platform from which you may genuinely influence the culture and future of the law school.
Last Thursday evening the Queer Portfolio held its Annual Lecture where Lee Carnie from the Human Rights Law Centre spoke. In 2010 Lee was the Queer rep for the LSS and speaking to them, following the event, it became very clear how much student advocacy had done to make the law school a more welcoming place for LGBTQI+ students since that time. Lee actually resigned before the end of their term from the LSS in protest as it was impossible to get the committee to move on issues seen as “too controversial” … just 7 years ago! Lee is now heavily involved in the High Court Challenge to the Postal Plebiscite and the ‘YES’ campaign.
In stark contrast, last year Mark Campbell was able to successfully push for non-gendered bathrooms, and in two weeks’ time the Queer Portfolio is hosting a Panel addressing how the law intersects with Transgender issues. Taking inspiration from our students, other LSS’s in Victoria are now similarly giving a voice to their LGBTQI+ students, with Monash creating a Queer rep position just last year.
It is this kind of advocacy that will continue to make the legal profession a healthier and more welcoming space for our students to enter and flourish within.
Equally the events facilitated by the LSS and others (I’m looking at you Melbourne China Law Society and your annual Dumpling Eating Competition!) are the lifeblood of our Law School.
Last week was the final of the KWMTM Open Mooting comp. Not only were all those competing unbelievably capable legal minds, one of them was a first year! The opportunity to develop and showcase talent like this is not available at every law school in Melbourne and we are fortunate so many other students, faculty members and sponsors work together to put on such events.
It should never be presupposed that such events will seemingly run themselves, or that someone else will be there to identify and raise your concern. With such opportunity comes the responsibility to contribute as meaningfully as your circumstances allow.
If you have enjoyed an LSS event or loved the negotiation competition; if you have found writing for/reading De Minimis therapeutic or been supported by the LLSN - then please consider getting involved in these groups and giving some of your energy and time to making law school an even greater experience for you and your peers. It only takes a committed group of ordinary strangers to make extraordinary changes.
Henry Dow is a third-year JD student and the current President of the LSS
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