ALA Civil Justice Award recipient recognised for flood assistance
17th Feb 2012
A man who went beyond the call of duty to assist Queensland’s flood-ravaged and destitute communities, in December 2010, has been recognised with The Australian Lawyers Alliance Civil Justice Award.
Ipswich Mayor, Paul Pisasale, was named winner of the award at this year’s Australian Lawyers Alliance Queensland Conference, at the Sheraton Mirage on the Gold Coast, today.
The award recognises those who go beyond the call of duty in protecting and promoting justice, freedom and the rights of the individual.
Mr Pisasale, who also raised $2.5 million to help flood victims, was recognised with the award for his advocacy work post-floods.
Tragically, Mr Pisasale’s mother passed away unexpectedly, this week, preventing him from accepting the award at the conference in person.
In an emotionally, recorded thank you for the conference, Mr Pisasale dedicated the award to his mother who, he said, taught him to embrace duty to help others rather than use it to advance personal interests and career.
“She migrated here 60 years ago and made Australia her home. If you knew her you’d know she was the kind of person who would never let you leave her kitchen without a salami under your arm,” Mr Pisasale affectionately remembered.
“She taught me that election to office was not about title or position but about respect for the job and doing what needed to be done to help people from all walks of life,” he said.
Mr Pisasale also used his speech to explain that the only way to get insurers to accept their responsibility to flood victims had been through an Inquiry and that the fight was not yet over as premiums were now skyrocketing creating more hardship.
Queensland ALA president, Adam Tayler said Mayor Pisasale was a humble and generous person who was well deserving of the award who had expressed genuine surprise on learning he was to receive the award despite the fact that he had done so much to help so many in the immediate aftermath of the floods.
“He was insistent that flood victims’ claims for assistance should be dealt with quickly and fairly. Whenever any roadblocks were raised, stalling claims, he would call authorities to fix the problems promptly,” Mr Tayler said.
“It is amazing what this man was able to achieve in the aftermath of the maelstrom – 35 people died in the floods, 9 were unaccounted for and three-quarters of the state was declared a disaster zone – yet Mr Pisasale was able to wade through bureaucracy as well as residual water and mud to ensure victims got the attention they needed.
"This all happened at a time of great uncertainty and confusion over insurance cover and whether some of the most affected would receive any compensation at all.
"Without such dynamic assistance, in what were desperate times, many people may have found themselves without anyone to turn to for help and desperation and exasperation may have led to even more hardship,” Mr Tayler said.
The Australian Lawyers Alliance is a non-profit national organisation with about 1,400 members who work to promote access to justice for everyone in Australia.