Work or volunteer with us

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Legal Director – Refugee Rights
Full time, ongoing position
Melbourne or Sydney

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an experienced human rights lawyer, advocate and manager to join the Human Rights Law Centre’s leadership team and manage our work advancing the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum.

We are seeking a candidate with significant litigation experience given that court action is a major focus of our current work. Our refugee rights team currently comprises this Legal Director position, two Senior Lawyers and two Lawyers. The team is supported by the Executive Director, communications, fundraising and administrative staff.

The Legal Director – Refugee Rights will:

  • Coordinate legal action to advance the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum in partnership with civil society organisations and pro bono legal teams;

  • Manage the HRLC’s refugee rights staff team;

  • Identify opportunities for protecting the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum through legal action in Australian courts and complaints to UN bodies;

  • Coordinate and undertake human rights research, education, campaigns and advocacy to advance refugee rights including by drafting reports, submissions and other publications, media advocacy in print, radio and television media, political engagement, advocacy via social media and public speaking;

  • Develop relationships with key refugee rights stakeholders including community partner organisations, donors, pro bono partners, politicians, academics and the media;

  • Working with the Executive Director and Development Manager, identify and secure adequate human and financial resources to support the HRLC’s work;

  • Assist with supervising secondees, interns and volunteers and recruitment;

  • Work with other staff to assist with seminars and events, publications and marketing;

  • Contribute to implementing, refining and evaluating the HRLC’s overall strategic plan and the refugee rights strategic plan;

  • Together with other Directors, undertake a leadership role in the HRLC; and

  • Undertake administrative tasks as required in a small team.

For key selection criteria, terms and conditions, and how to apply, download the Recruitment Pack - Legal Director - Refugee Rights.

The closing date for applications is Thursday 8 August 2019.


Government Relations Manager
Full time, ongoing position
Sydney or Melbourne

The Human Rights Law Centre is seeking a Government Relations Manager who will advise the Centre on political strategies and opportunities and build strong government, political and stakeholder relationships across all levels of government to progress the Centre’s reform agenda.

The Centre has a dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights program and a focus on youth justice within this program. This exciting new role will work half-time on this youth justice work and half-time on the organisation’s other priority human rights issues, which include democratic freedoms, reproductive rights, economic justice, prisoner rights, business and human rights, refugee rights and institutional protections for human rights.

The Government Relations Manager will:

  • Develop and maintain strong working relationships with key government stakeholders across state, territory and federal governments including members of parliament and within the public service

  • Working with senior staff, develop government engagement strategies for achieving law reform in priority areas

  • Manage the execution of government relations strategies and monitor and report on progress

  • Provide advice to staff and build their capacity to effectively engage with government to achieve law reform objectives

  • Assist with providing briefing and advice to relevant Ministers, members of parliament and public servants

  • Develop and maintain a database of key government contacts

  • Develop the Centre’s organisation-wide government engagement policy and monitor and ensure compliance with the policy, including in relation to knowledge management

  • Liaise with partner organisations to ensure consistent, effective government engagement on youth justice issues and the broader issues that the Centre works across

  • Build and maintain collaborative working relationships with partner organisations

  • Contribute to the development and evaluation of the Centre’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights program strategic plan and the Centre’s overall strategic plan

  • Undertake administrative tasks as required in a small team.

For key selection criteria, terms and conditions, and how to apply, download the Recruitment Pack - Government Relations Manager.

The closing date for applications is Thursday 25 July 2019.



Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us and supporting human rights. Regrettably, we are only able to take on a very limited number of volunteers due to capacity. We want to make sure that our volunteers are properly supervised and have interesting, challenging work.

We only take on law student volunteers through established programs with universities and organisations. These programs will be advertised through the relevant organisation.

We do not have the capacity to take on high school work experience placements.

Tips and resources for getting involved

We are sometimes asked for advice about how to get involved in volunteering and human rights law. Some helpful resources and tips are below:

Volunteering in community legal centres – Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres and national site

Castan Centre for Human Rights Law & Progressive Law Network ­ – Public Interest Law Careers Guide

University of Melbourne – Careers in Public Interest Law

So you want to be a human rights lawyer? RMIT Centre for Innovative Justice video

Bill Quigley’s Letter to a Law Student Interested in Social Justice