Ruth McColl and Robert Fitzgerald join Justice Connect as patrons

 

We’re proud to announce the appointment of Ruth McColl AO and Robert Fitzgerald AM as our new patrons. Together they bring an extraordinary breadth and depth of experience in representing Justice Connect.

“We’re thrilled to have two such august members of the community join our organisation,” said Chris Povey, CEO of Justice Connect. “Ruth and Robert have unparalleled experience in so many fields, we’re truly lucky to welcome them into the Justice Connect family. They embody our efforts to make the law work for people and community groups that need help,” said Mr Povey.

Ms McColl and Mr Fitzgerald both expressed their enthusiasm for joining Justice Connect. “Justice Connect is an organisation that stands for something that I believe in very strongly – that the law can be used to make people’s lives better, and the community more connected and vibrant.” said Ms McColl.

Mr Fitzgerald stated “I saw firsthand Justice Connect’s excellent work when serving as Chair of the Advisory Board of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Their commitment to building a strong, vibrant community sector, and their work in using the law to do so, is unique, and it is an organisation I am excited to represent publicly.”

Patrons of Justice Connect are selected based on their distinguished and exemplary work in the field of social justice, human rights and the law. They publicly represent and support our work, and our vision of a fairer, stronger community, and advocate for others to do the same.

Justice Connect also extends its profound thanks to our former patron, Prof Gillian Triggs, who now serves as Justice Connect’s Chair.

 

Patron profiles

Ruth McColl AO

In 2004, Ruth was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) for her service to the law, to professional development, particularly for women, and in matters affecting Indigenous groups and youth.  She was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001, and was appointed a Judge of the Court of Appeal in 2003.

Prior to her appointment to the Bench, Ruth served on the Council of the New South Wales Bar Association from 1981 until 2001, and was elected the first woman president of that organisation in 1999. She was also President of the Australian Bar Association (2001), President of the Women Lawyers Association of New South Wales (1996 – 1997) and Vice President of Australian Women Lawyers (1996 – 1999).

From 1999 to 2002, McColl served as President of the Board of the New South Wales Public Interest Law Clearing House – the NSW forerunner of Justice Connect.

 

Robert Fitzgerald AM

Robert, a lawyer by background, is currently sitting as a Commissioner with the Australian Productivity Commission. He is working on the inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans.

Previously, Robert was the Community and Disability Services Commissioner and Deputy Ombudsman in NSW, and the convener of the Indigenous Disadvantage Working Group of the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision for nine years. He has served as a Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse from 2013 to 2017. He was also appointed to Chair the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Advisory Board for three years from 2012 and was formerly President of the Australian Council of Social Services.

Robert was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1994, is a recipient of the Centenary medal, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Australian Catholic University in 2001.

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