Qld women win national award recognising commitment to seeking justice for Robodebt

20th Oct 2023

Two Queensland women have been recognised for their determined fight for accountability and transparency around the unlawful Robodebt scheme. Ms Kathleen Madgwick and Ms Jennifer Miller have been awarded the Australian Lawyers Alliance’s (ALA) national Civil Justice Award for 2023.

Ms Madgwick and Ms Miller were presented with the award during the ALA’s National Conference on the Gold Coast today.

“Jennifer and Kathleen are truly deserving recipients of our annual Civil Justice Award,” said Mr Shaun Marcus, National President, ALA. “This award recognises their grit, determination and persistence in fighting for justice, and their significant contribution to the Royal Commission into Robodebt.”

Both Jenny and Kathleen tragically lost their sons to suicide in 2019 after Services Australia sought to recover debts from these already vulnerable individuals. Both women tirelessly battled for answers, seeking accountability from Ministers and Services Australia, telling their sons’ stories, through stymied FOI requests and direct approaches to politicians.

“Time after time their concerns were dismissed or minimised and time after time they continued to press for accountability and justice,” said Mr Marcus. “Their consistent advocacy was a driving contributor to raising awareness of this enormous failure in public administration. 

“Notwithstanding their tremendous personal loss, these tireless advocates and strong women exemplify how grit and determination can be used to hold government to account.

“Given the huge impact of Robodebt on almost half a million Australians, and their significant fight to obtain justice for everyone affected, Kathleen and Jennifer are extremely deserving and inspiring winners of this award.”

Since 1996, the ALA has awarded the national Civil Justice Award to an individual or organisation who has made a significant contribution to the pursuit of civil justice in Australia. Previous recipients of the ALA’s Civil Justice Award include former prime minister Malcolm Fraser AC, Indigenous rights activist Eddie Mabo, lawyer Bernard Collaery and politician Andrew Wilkie MP.

Previous ALA Civil Justice Award winners can be viewed here:

Tags: Civil Justice Award