Genevieve Bolton, Chair
Genevieve Bolton is the Executive Director/Principal Solicitor of Canberra Community Law, a position she has held since 2010. Genevieve has had a long involvement in the community legal centre movement. Her commitment to advancing human rights was recognised in 2015 when she was awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission Law Award. In 2015, she was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with a Medal of the Order of Australia for her welfare rights work. In 2018 Genevieve was included in the ACT Women’s Honour Roll and her work has been recognised nationally in the ‘Trailblazing Women and the Law’ project, a collaboration between the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne.
Natalie Ross, Ordinary Board Member
Natalie Ross is a new member of the EJA board and she is the Principal Solicitor of the Welfare Rights Centre in New South Wales. Natalie has been working and volunteering in NSW community legal centres since the 1980s and has also worked at the Australian Human Rights Commission and LawAccess NSW. She has had previous experience as a board and management committee member and chairperson of a range of non-government organisations, and is on the editorial committee for the NSW Law Handbook.
Emma Cvitak, Ordinary Board Member
Emma is a Community Lawyer and in-house School Lawyer at Barwon Community Legal Service. In her current role, Emma champions in the areas of social security, family violence, elder abuse and youth law. Alongside casework, Emma’s role includes developing and delivering community legal education as well as contributing to law reform work. Emma is passionate about working to ensure people have access to justice and in 2020 she was a finalist in the Lawyers Weekly ’30 under 30’ awards. Emma has been a board member of EJA since 2019.
Mitra Khakbaz, Independent Board Member
Mitra Khakbaz has over 20 years’ experience working in human services. In her current role as deputy CEO of HOST International she leads program design and service delivery across Asia Pacific including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. Her track record includes developing and leading projects across humanitarian settlement, employment, regional development, community wellbeing, youth engagement, child protection and women economic empowerment. Mitra currently is a board member of Nationality for All and is excited to join board of EJA.
Irini Shnody, Independent Board Member
Irini Shnody has over 13 years’ experience working in Finance. In her current role as a Financial Controller for Telstra, Irini leads the financial control function for the passive assets of Telstra Group. Irini has extensive experience in financial reporting, budgeting, treasury management, tax and finance governance. She has previously worked for large national and multinational organisations as well as professional service
Katherine Boyle, Deputy Chair
Katherine Boyle joined the Welfare Rights Centre in 2016 as Coordinator/Principal Solicitor and was appointed Executive Director in 2019. She also volunteered at the Welfare Rights Centre during 1996. Her 25-year career in the community legal sector, private practice, public service and trade union movement has focussed on defending and promoting the rights of vulnerable, marginalised and disadvantaged people. Katherine is committed to ensuring that all people in Australia have an adequate standard of living and to advocating for a fair social security system. Katherine has first class honours in both Political Economy and Law. Katherine joined the Board in 2019. She is committed to advancing EJA’s funding strategy and further developing EJA’s media and communications strategy.
Kate Beaumont, Treasurer
Kate Beaumont is a social worker and is the Executive Officer at Welfare Rights & Advocacy Service in Western Australia (WRAS). She has worked in this role since February 2002 after previously working as a welfare rights advocate with the service from December 2001. Prior to her studies in social work Kate worked for 19 years with the Department of Social Security and Centrelink in a variety of customer service settings across Tasmania, New South Wales and Western Australia. In 2003 at the time of incorporation Kate joined the Board of Economic Justice Australia in its earlier iterations of the National Welfare Rights Network and the National Social Security Rights Network. Over the last 18 years she has held several roles on the EJA Board – initially elected for the first three years as an Ordinary Committee Member, she was either the Vice President or President of the association from 2006 to 2017 and for the last three years has been the Treasurer of EJA. Kate was appointed as a Commissioner of the Legal Aid Commission of Western Australia from July 2012 to June 2017. She has been a Board Member of a number of other community legal centres within Western Australia including, Employment Law Centre, MIDLAS, Street Law Centre and Tenancy WA.
Fiona Hunt, Ordinary Board Member
Fiona Hunt is CEO of Basic Rights Qld and is a committed community professional with 28 years experience working with disadvantaged people in Queensland. Her career has spanned the Community Legal, Neighbourhood Centre, Housing and Homelessness, Women’s, and Drug & Alcohol sectors. She has also worked for Government and Peak bodies and been involved in campaigns and collective action for social change. Fiona is passionate about addressing systemic inequity, eradicating poverty, community discourse and supporting women and children.
Rhea Thomas, Ordinary Board Member
Rhea is a solicitor at Welfare Rights & Advocacy Service in Western Australia (WRAS). Since joining WRAS 5 years ago Rhea has worked on various social security and residential tenancy law issues. She is currently undertaking a family and domestic violence project aimed at providing legal advice, representation, community legal education (CLE) and referrals for victims of FDV in relation to their social security issues. She has previously been involved in a youth focused project and is passionate about CLE. Rhea has been a co-convenor of the CLC Community Legal Education Workers network since 2018 and a management committee member of SCALES community legal centre since 2017. Prior to joining WRAS Rhea worked in other realms of administrative law, in particular immigration law and coronial inquests into Aboriginal deaths in custody.
Leanne Ho, Chief Executive Officer
Leanne Ho is a human rights lawyer and leader in the community and pro bono legal sectors. She has been leading Economic Justice Australia since 2017, having previously worked in various roles at the Welfare Rights Centre in Sydney, most recently acting as Principal Solicitor for several months on secondment from a law firm. Leanne also works as a pro bono consultant, developing the pro bono programs of large corporate law firms to provide legal assistance to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups including refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia. She has previously worked as the legal adviser to United Nations peacekeeping missions and its Human Rights Advisory Panel.
Linda Forbes, Law Reform, Policy and Communications Officer
Linda joined EJA in April 2020, after four years with South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute working on policy and health promotion programs to address STIs among young people in remote Aboriginal communities; and seven years with the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, managing its policy and comms team. Linda worked at NSW Welfare Rights Centre for 18 years from 1991 and prior to that worked in the Department of Social Security’s policy and appeals branches, where she first developed an abiding obsession with addressing issues affecting access to income security rights for people with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and migrants and refugees.
Terina Hegarty, Policy and Communications Support Officer
Terina is a social worker and she has worked across the community and social service sector in law, policy, youth work, homelessness, and research and evaluation. Terina joins Economic Justice Australia (EJA) as a Policy and Communications Support Officer. She is also working at Basic Rights Queensland (BRQ), a community legal centre and member of EJA. Terina holds a Master of Social Work Studies degree, as well as a Bachelor of Psychological Science and Graduate Certificate in Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Studies. She is passionate about social justice, human rights and advocating for community members impacted by the legal system.
Lucia Mai, Volunteer
Lucia joined EJA in March 2020 as a volunteer Communications Intern as part of the Brennan Justice and Leadership Program. She currently studies a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Communications (Creative Writing) at the University of Technology Sydney. Lucia also volunteers with the National Justice Project as a writer, and the Ankali Project as an Emotional Support Companion for people living with HIV.
Kate Allingham, Deputy CEO
Kate has worked as a manager, advisor, community advocate and strategist across a range of government and non-government organisations. She is passionate about tackling complex issues, in a collaborative environment, to better empower all members of our communities. Kate recently worked as senior advisor to an independent member of federal parliament, and previously worked in housing and Aboriginal and community legal services. Kate lives and works in Hobart, Tasmania.
Tori Edwards, Chief Operating Officer
Tori Edwards is a lawyer, manager and leader in the not-for-profit sector. She joined EJA in June 2023 after more than 7 years with Justice Connect, leading teams delivering legal services to those experiencing economic and social disadvantage. She is passionate about using the law and public policy for positive impact in people’s lives. Tori previously worked for a large charity in pro bono legal service delivery, and as a native title lawyer working alongside Traditional Owner communities across NSW. She holds postgraduate qualifications in Human Rights Law (LLM) and Social Impact.
Sarah Sacher, Law Reform Officer
Sarah Sacher has worked across a range of human rights policy issues as a lawyer, advisor and researcher. She is particularly interested in the implications of automation and artificial intelligence for the human rights of vulnerable and marginalised people. Sarah joins EJA as a Law Reform Officer, having previously worked at the Australian Human Rights Commission as an advisor to the President; the Law Council of Australia as a human rights policy lawyer; and the Victorian Law Reform Commission as a researcher. She has an LLM from the London School of Economics, specialising in human rights law. At EJA, Sarah will focus on automation in social security, and family violence issues.
Amy Schneider, Law Reform Officer
Amy is a human rights solicitor who has spent her legal career working in public interest private practice, Community Legal Centres, and Legal Aid NSW. Amy has held several roles within Legal Aid NSW’s civil law division including as a senior solicitor managing localised civil law service delivery to regional and remote Western NSW, and most recently as a solicitor in their human rights team. Amy has also worked as a solicitor for specialist domestic/family abuse legal services such as Women’s Legal Service NSW and Western Women’s Legal Support. Amy is passionate about, and has expertise in, the equitable delivery of legal services to clients in regional and remote NSW, particularly women experiencing domestic/family abuse.
Olivia Tan, Secondee
Olivia has joined EJA as a secondee from Wotton + Kearney’s Pro Bono team and will be with EJA until July 2023. Olivia’s experience spans across Western Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. Prior to joining Wotton + Kearney, Olivia was a lawyer with knowmore Legal Service and she has experience in the community legal sector, private practice and public service. Olivia is passionate about social justice and is committed to supporting and advocating for the rights of people who are vulnerable or marginalised. At EJA, Olivia will focus on highlighting the unmet need for social security legal advice and support for women in the Northern Territory and Queensland.