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School Law Conference

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Introducing our Presenters

Melinda Tankard Reist

Melinda is an author, speaker, media commentator, blogger and advocate for young people. She is best known for her work addressing sexualisation, objectification, harms of pornography, sexual exploitation, trafficking and violence against women. Melinda is author/editor of six books and is currently working on her 7th book. An opinion writer, Melinda has appeared on ABC’s Q&A and The Gruen Sessions as well as many other TV and radio programs. Melinda is co-founder and Movement Director of the grassroots campaigning movement, Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation, exposing corporations, advertisers and marketers who objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services. An Ambassador for World Vision Australia, Compassion Australia, HagarNZ and the youth mentoring body the Raise Foundation, Melinda is also Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Culture and Ethics, Notre Dame University, Sydney. 

Dianne Ruhl - Ruhl Family Law Centre

Diane is the Founding Principal and Director of Ruhl Family Law Centre, establishing the firm in June 2016. Prior to this she worked exclusively in Family Law at a local law firm.

Born and raised in Mackay, Diane then commenced her study in Brisbane, but missed the tropical north so transferred to James Cook University, Townsville. After graduating, Diane spent a year as the Associate to the former Northern Judge, His Honour Justice Cullinane of the Supreme Court of Queensland. During her years of experience, Diane has been involved in a variety of family law matters and is well-known in the Townsville community for her client-focused, no nonsense approach and securing excellent outcomes for her clients. Diane is also an Independent Children’s Lawyer, acting on behalf of children in various litigious matters. 

Tracey Jessie - Jessie Lawyers

Tracey has 19 years experience in employment law and has been a partner in national and state law firms.  Before studying law, Tracey was a teacher and principal within Education Queensland.

In 2015 Tracey established Jessie Lawyers.  Tracey acts for a number of educational facilities throughout Queensland and provides advice on education, employment, work health and safety and industrial relations matters.  She also advises not-for-profit organisations and business enterprises in all aspects of employment law and industrial relations.

Tracey is the editor of the Regulatory Compliance manual “Education in Non-State Schools” in Queensland.

Elizabeth Dickson - Queensland University of Technology 

Elizabeth Dickson joined the staff of the Law School at QUT in January 2006. She had previously worked in the Law School at the University of Queensland. She is also a qualified teacher and has taught in schools from both the state and independent education sectors.

At QUT, Elizabeth teaches Introduction to Law and Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Law. Elizabeth’s research interests are in the areas of discrimination law and education law, and she consults and publishes in these areas. Her PhD thesis involved an analysis of the effectiveness of discrimination law in delivering equality of opportunity in education to people with disabilities. 

Elizabeth has recently been involved with an Australian Research Council funded project looking at the assessment of students with disabilities. She has also recently consulted for Diabetes Australia on the development of a national approach to accommodating students with diabetes and is currently co-authoring a book on schools' legal obligations to students with complex health issues. 

Sharon Simi and Eboni Harrison - Blue Card Services

Sharon Simi

Sharon is an A/Senior Advisor in the Community Information team at Blue Card Services. She has extensive experience leading the blue card call centre. Sharon uses her call centre knowledge to develop useful resources for stakeholders on blue card screening requirements.  

Eboni Harrison

Eboni is a lawyer with a special interest in child protection. Eboni worked in the private legal sector before joining Blue Card Services as an Investigator in the Compliance Team. Eboni now works as an A/Senior Advisor in the Community Information team on various projects including specific blue card screening advice.

John Hamilton - McInnes Wilson Lawyers

John is Principal of the firm's Commercial team with a strong track record in advising clients across a wide range of commercial and corporate matters. He possesses specialist knowledge and application in industrial relations matters, including employment and workplace issues, whilst working extensively in the education, property, energy and gas sector, and motor vehicle industries.

John Hamilton's clients include private and publicly listed companies, high wealth individuals, family entities, and local and State government departments. He has a 25-year track record of managing publicly sensitive issues and delivering results. 

Jessica Lipsett - Corney & Lind Lawyers

Jessica was admitted to practice as a Legal Practitioner by the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2013 and the High Court of Australia in 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice from Bond University. Having worked across multiple roles in the Education and Not-for-Profit sector, Jessica combines her practical experience and legal knowledge to assist institutional clients navigate their way through dispute-related matters.

Jessica has experience conducting matters in the Supreme Court of Queensland, Federal Court, Federal Circuit Court, Family Court of Australia, Queensland Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, Australian Human Rights Commission, and Fair Work Commission.

Tim McGrath - Miller Harris Lawyers

Tim is a partner in Cairns based firm Miller Harris Lawyers, and he has over 25 years’ experience in fields of industrial relations, statutory compliance and commercial litigation.

He is an experienced advisor in relation to privacy, right to information matters, administrative decision-making, reviews and appeals. Tim has experience acting for some of the largest employers in North and Far North Queensland. 

Tim advises on workplace agreements, performance management issues, redundancy and discrimination. His clients in those areas range across industries as diverse as health and medical, education, government and private enterprise. 

Tim served as Chair, Board of Governance for Education in Cairns for eight years. He is Honorary Solicitor to the Australian Aphasia Association and Patron of NorthSite Contemporary Arts Limited.