UNSW Law alumna and former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick AO reflected on her life in the law as she delivered the 11th Hal Wootten Lecture.

The annual Hal Wootten Lecture was established in 2006 by the Faculty of Law in honour of its founding dean, Emeritus Professor Hal Wootten QC. In each lecture, a pre-eminent lawyer reflects on his or her life in the law and on law’s potential as a force for good.

In this year’s lecture, Broderick reflected on her life in the law, discussing her journey from her early interest in STEM, experiences as a UNSW Law student and how she pioneered the establishment of a legal technology practice. Broderick has dedicated her career to working tirelessly to break down structural and social barriers faced by women and men, to strengthen the laws on gender equality.

Her calling as an advocate for women’s rights and gender equality led to her becoming Australia’s longest serving Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007-2015), where, among many other achievements, she helped bring about national paid parental leave and cultural change in the Australian Defence Force. She also established the Male Champions of Change movement that recognised that equality is something that both men and women must fight for.

Elizbeth has always been a generous supporter of the Faculty and serves on the UNSW Law Advisory Council.

This year marked the first occasion that a UNSW Law graduate delivered the annual lecture. Recognising this in his vote of thanks, Emeritus Professor Hal Wootten said:

“For all of us associated with the Law School there is pleasure that the Lecture has been delivered by one of its graduates and that in reviewing her own life story Liz has provided a rich store of evidence to endorse Justice Holmes’ assertion that a person may ‘live greatly in the law as elsewhere’.”

You can read a copy of Elizabeth Broderick’s speech here or download a copy of Emeritus Professor Hal Wootten’s vote of thanks here.