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Our Senior Staff Team

Genevieve Bolton OAM

Executive Director/Principal Solicitor

Genevieve Bolton is the Executive Director/Principal Solicitor of Canberra Community Law, a position she has held since 2010. Genevieve has worked at Canberra Community Law since 2003 and has had a long involvement in the community legal centre movement. Genevieve has practised as a human rights lawyer for many years including a stint in refugee and migration law.

Genevieve’s 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 in recognition of her service to the law, in particular 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.

Genevieve is Chair of Economic Justice Australia, the peak organisation for community legal centres providing specialist advice to people on their social security issues and rights.

 

John Alati

Supervising Solicitor – Street Law and Night Time Legal Advice Service

John is a former high school teacher who studied law and began practising in country NSW. He worked in general practice in a range of areas including family, criminal, commercial, property and civil law. John came to Canberra in 2006 to take up a position at Canberra Community Law as a Solicitor and Co-ordinator of Canberra Community Law’s student legal clinic through the Australian National University (ANU).

John later worked as in-house counsel to a number of organisations in the education and health areas where he worked in areas such as child protection, litigation, privacy, employment, commercial and medical law. Since 2007 he has been appointed as panel chair for the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, hearing matters involving health practitioners.

John returned to Canberra Community Law in 2017 as the Street Law Supervising Solicitor. He has also been Supervising Solicitor for the Night Time Legal Advice Service (NTLAS) since 2012. In 2019 he was a finalist in the Law category of the Australian Human Rights Awards.

John has taught legal subjects at the ANU since 2007 and has also taught at the Canberra Institute of Technology. He is a member of Canberra Community Law’s Board of Directors, having been appointed in 2018.

 

Farzana Choudhury

Senior Solicitor – Disability Discrimination Law and Street Law

Farzana is a Senior Solicitor with our Disability Discrimination Law and Street Law programs. Farzana is passionate about access to justice for people facing barriers, which she has channelled through establishing Street Law’s legal education and advice clinic for women in prison, delivering community legal education and championing various inclusion and access to justice initiatives. Farzana commenced working with Canberra Community Law in 2016 as a solicitor with Street Law. Prior to working at Canberra Community Law, she was an in-house government lawyer, and also volunteered with our Night Time Legal Advice Service.

Farzana was awarded a 2019 Churchill Fellowship to investigate the application of poverty-based discrimination law frameworks overseas. Farzana was awarded ACT Young Lawyer of the Year in 2019 and Australian National University Young Alumna of the Year in 2020, in recognition of her professional and community engagement to support people facing disadvantage. Farzana has been Vice President of the ACT Law Society since 2020 and is an active member of the ACT Law Society’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee.

 

Clyde Cosentino

Senior Solicitor – Housing Law

Clyde has been a solicitor for many years, and Senior Solicitor with Canberra Community Law since 2020. Clyde has worked as an immigration lawyer at the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) both as a Principal Solicitor for 1 year and as a lawyer for 9 years. Prior to this, he worked as a refugee lawyer for the Jesuit Refugee Service in Cambodia in partnership with UNHCR during the last year of the civil war there. He has worked in private practice and as an in-house lawyer in Queensland. Clyde was a member on the Refugee and Migration Review Tribunal from 2010 to 2015. He has also worked in private practice and as an in-house lawyer in Queensland.

 

Anusha Goonetilleke

Program Manager/Senior Solicitor – Street Law, Housing Law and Social Security Law

Anusha started off her legal career working in private practice at Dibbs Barker, Master Builders Australia and MinterEllison predominately in employment law. Anusha then spent two years working at local community legal centres in Vanuatu as part of the Australian Volunteers for International Development program. This is where Anusha developed her love for front-line legal work to help people who otherwise would not be able to access justice. After Vanuatu, Anusha co-ordinated the Regional, Rural and Remote program at LawRight (formerly the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House). Anusha was the Supervising Solicitor of Street Law for five years before moving into the role of Program Manager and Senior Solicitor with our Street Law, Social Security Law and Housing Law programs.

 

Naomi Gould

Senior Litigation Solicitor – Housing Law and Social Security Law

Naomi works in the Social Security and Housing Law programs with a focus on litigation. Naomi has a great passion for social justice with specific interests in human rights and administrative law. Naomi has regularly argued the ACT Human Rights Act over her years working at Canberra Community Law and is a strong advocate for the implementation of human rights at the local level.

Naomi has many years’ experience working as a community lawyer in both Australia and the USA. She previously worked as a senior attorney with the Mental Health Advocacy Project in San Jose, California. She has also worked in the civil law team at the NSW Legal Aid Commission, and she started her legal career at what was then known as Freehills which included a secondment to the Kingsford Legal Centre. Naomi is also on the current Executive Management Committee of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR).

 

Alexandra Palk

Supervising Solicitor – Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program

Alex is a senior litigation lawyer who has practiced in criminal, human rights, tenancy, social security and race discrimination law. Since 2007, Alex has worked in private practice, as a Supreme Court judge’s associate, Commonwealth prosecutor, international legal consultant, an independent decision maker for the National Redress Scheme and as a community based human rights lawyer.

Alex first joined Canberra Community Law in 2011 as a senior lawyer in our Street Law program, representing homeless clients in criminal and debt matters and lobbying for law reforms in areas affecting our clients. She returned to CCL in 2018 to join our Social Security Law and Housing Law team as a senior litigation lawyer. In May 2021, Alex took on the role of Supervising Solicitor in our Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program, where she and the Dhurrawang team represent First Nations clients in housing and tenancy, social security, race discrimination and human rights matters.

 

Emma Towney

Program Manager/Solicitor – Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program

Emma Towney is Program Manager/Solicitor within the Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program and has been working at Canberra Community Law since March 2019. Emma is a proud Wiradjuri woman who grew up on Wonnarua Country in the hunter region of NSW, before moving to Ngunnawal Country in 2012 to take up a legal graduate position in a Commonwealth Department. Prior to joining Canberra Community Law, she worked as a Commonwealth Government Lawyer in areas such as employment law, coronial inquest and legislation. Emma is also Chair of the ACT Law Society Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Committee.

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