14th Nov 2019
ACT takes the only sensible option, because outlawing cannabis is useless.
14th Nov 2019
Accused persons must have an unconditional right to elect a trial by judge alone.
Noor Blumer, Immediate Past President
Noor Blumer was the ALA National President in 2018–19.
Women's advocate and civil libertarian Noor Blumer is a Director at Blumers Personal Injury Lawyers. She has served as President of Australian Women Lawyers (2005–2006), Chair of the Equalising Opportunities in the Law Committee of the Law Council of Australia (2007–2010) and President of the Law Society of the ACT (2011–2012). She has also served as Vice-President of Civil Liberties Australia.
As well as focusing on personal injury litigation, Noor has acted for the ACT Human Rights Commission from time-to-time and this has given her an insight into the application of a modern Human Rights Act. Noor has been an active member of the ALA since joining the organisation in 2011. Noor is passionately committed to ensuring everyone has access to justice and fighting to uphold the rights of individuals.
Greg Phelps, Barrister
Spokesperson on the Montara oil spill, foreign fishing, criminal forfeiture and human rights
Greg Phelps is a barrister at William Forster Chambers, Darwin.
Greg regularly instructs in the Northern Territory Appeal Courts, both in criminal and civil matters. Greg has also worked with pre-eminent barristers from interstate in the Federal Court, Court of Appeal, Full Court and High Court cases. Greg appears as advocate in the Local Court, Court of Summary Jurisdiction and Supreme Court.
Greg has acted in several matters under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 (Cth) representing both Indonesian and Australian fishermen and also in environmental and immigration disputes.
In 2012 and 2013, Greg instructed Counsel in around 75% of all High Court of Australia cases filed from the Northern Territory, including constitutional, criminal law and equity matters.
Greg was the 2015–16 Australian Lawyers Alliance National President and also served for two years as the NT President.
Andrew Stone SC, Barrister
Andrew Stone is a barrister practising from Sir James Martin Chambers, Sydney. He specialises in personal injury law and insurance law, including motor accident and public liability cases. Andrew is passionate about protecting the right of innocent accident victims to proper compensation.
Andrew was a Member of the Bar Council, NSW Bar Association, from 2012–13, and a longstanding Member of the NSW Bar Association Common Law Committee. In addition, he is a NSW Bar Association representative on the MRG (the MAAS Users Group), and on the Law Council Personal Injuries Committee.
Andrew has appeared before a large number of NSW parliamentary inquiries on behalf of the ALA and the NSW Bar Association, and has drafted numerous submissions to government opposing the removal of the legal rights of the injured.
Geraldine Collins, Vic Director
Spokesperson on access to justice and human rights
Geraldine Collins is a principal at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, and is an accredited specialist in personal injury law.
In her practice, Geraldine assists those who have been injured, both through the fault of another, and those injured under coverage of ‘no fault’ schemes. She is passionate about ensuring that individuals have adequate access to justice and redress across Australia. Geraldine has always acted on behalf of injured people, and regards working to provide assistance to those who face devastation through suffering injury as a great privilege.
Geraldine was the ALA National President in 2013–14.
Geraldine has sat on the Victorian committee of the ALA for 12 years, and was the Victorian President from 2008-09 until 2010-11. She has been the Victorian Director since 2007.
Geraldine currently sits on the Law Institute of Victoria’s (LIV) Litigation Lawyers Executive, the LIV’s Litigation Lawyers Transport Accident Committee, the LIV’s Tort Reform Committee, the LIV’s Personal Injury Law Specialisation Advisory Committee, the TAC Legal Liaison Committee, and the AMA’s Impairment Assessment Training Management Committee.
Follow Geraldine on Twitter: @gerac_mb
Greg Barns, Barrister
Spokesperson on asylum seekers, criminal justice and human rights
Greg Barns is a member of the Tasmanian, Victorian, and Western Australian Bars, and practises from Salamanca Chambers in Hobart and Stawell Chambers in Melbourne. Greg specialises in criminal law and administrative law.
Greg left the Liberal Party in 2002 as a result of its policy on asylum seekers. Since then, he has advocated the importance of the rule of law in Australia’s treatment of vulnerable people.
Greg was the ALA National President in 2011–12.
Greg is a regular contributor to the ABC’s The Drum, the Hobart Mercury, and other media outlets. In 2011, he was awarded the Angus Downie Print Journalism Award, which recognised his many years of defending the human rights of all Tasmanians, promoting community debate, and giving a voice in the media to those not often heard.
Greg appeared for one of the accused in the 2008 Melbourne ‘terrorism trial’ of 12 men charged with terrorism-related offences. In 2011, Greg appeared in a documentary about the case called The Trial, which screened on SBS. He is Chair of the Prisoners Advisory Legal Service in Tasmania.
Follow Greg on Twitter: @BarnsGreg
Dr Andrew Morrison RFD SC, Barrister
Spokesperson on institutional responses to abuse and the Royal Commission
Dr Andrew Morrison RFD SC practises as a barrister at Wardell Chambers, Sydney. Andrew specialises in industrial and employment law, insurance law, medical negligence, professional negligence, and alternative dispute resolution. He has appeared in a number of leading catastrophic injury cases, both for plaintiffs and for defendants. With Mr T J Goudkamp, he is a co-author of the Personal Injury Law Manual NSW, published by the Law Book Company.
Andrew has practised as a barrister in NSW since 1976, and was appointed Senior Counsel in 1993. He has since been appointed as Queens Counsel in Tasmania and Western Australia. Andrew has been admitted in all states and territories, and has practised in most of them, as well as in appellate jurisdictions. He has been on the Board of the Motor Accident Authority, and has been Supreme and District Court Arbitrator. He has held a commission, and sat as an acting District Court judge.
Andrew is a passionate advocate for the rights of those who have suffered injury and abuse within institutions. He represented the plaintiff in the High Court in State of NSW v Lepore (2003) 212 CLR 511 and Mr Ellis in the case Ellis v Pell and the Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church for the Diocese of Sydney  NSWSC 109;  NSWCA 117;  HCA 697. Andrew has appeared in a substantial number of cases in respect of sexual abuse of children within institutions.
Anthony (Tony) Kerin, Solicitor
Spokesperson on National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS)
Tony Kerin is a solicitor at Grope Hamilton in Adelaide. Tony specialises in personal injury law, workers’ compensation, and criminal law. Tony strongly supports the right of people with disability to choose the supports that will change their life.
Originally from country South Australia, Tony particularly enjoys providing legal services to rural communities. Johnston Withers adopts a practical, team-orientated approach to solving clients' problems, and bringing resolution to disputes. He relishes working on those matters that many would consider too hard to take on.
Tony has been a member of the Law Society of South Australia for over 25 years. He was the State President of the ALA (SA Branch) from 2004 to 2012, State Director from 2005 to 2012, and the National President in 2012–13.
Ngaire Watson, Barrister
Spokesperson on health law and medical negligence
Ngaire Watson practises as a barrister in Sydney, and specialises in medical negligence. Her work has spanned adverse drug events; failure to treat or diagnose; health practitioner standards; diagnosis of genetic disorders; informed consent; intentional torts; medico-legal aspects of health record documentation; mental harm; obstetric complications; and management of labour and coronial inquiries.
Prior to being admitted to the Bar, Ngaire had over 20 years experience in nursing, providing a unique insight into the cases that she takes on. With experience as a registered nurse, clinical tutor, specialist, facilitator, and as a psychoanalyst, Ngaire is passionate about using her knowledge of medical practice to better assist clients.
Ngaire has presented on medical negligence at a range of conferences, including assessing current proposals for open disclosure in Australia. She is a member of the editorial committee of the ALA’s legal journal, Precedent, the Barristers Animal Welfare Panel, and the Royal College of Nursing, Australia. She has been a registered nurse since 1985.
Follow Ngaire on Twitter: @Sulcus_Gyrus
Josh Mennen, Solicitor
Spokesperson on insurance and superannuation
Josh Mennen is a Principal Lawyer in the Superannuation and Insurance practice in Maurice Blackburn's Brisbane office and regularly travels between Queensland and New South Wales.
Josh practises in a range of jurisdictions, including State and Federal courts and tribunals. With an extensive knowledge of legal process he has been responsible for law-changing and leading cases.
He is passionate about increasing consumer rights awareness in the financial services sector, and giving voice to those disempowered by illness, injury and socio/economic barriers.
Josh also represents victims of negligent financial planning and stockbroking advice, including through compensation schemes such as the CBA Open Advice Review Program and the Macquarie Private Wealth compensation scheme.
Josh is a prominent commentator on policy reform, having advanced consumer interests through many submissions/appearances at parliamentary inquiries and other forums as well as through frequent media appearances on issues such as quality and sustainability of TPD insurance in super, Codes of Practice, behaviour of super funds/life insurers and the Financial Services Royal Commission. Josh works closely with various unions, and a range of consumer and other community support groups including the Leukaemia Foundation, the MS Society, social workers, financial counsellors and many more. He presents seminars and acts pro-bono for these groups and their members to increase consumer rights awareness, and give a voice to those disempowered by illness, injury and socio/economic barriers.
Josh provides legal advice to clients of disability support groups, charities, Public Trustees, financial counsellors, community groups and unions. He acts for workers and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities against insurance companies and superannuation funds.
Follow Josh on Twitter: @josh_mennen