The new Independent Member for Kooyong, Dr Monique Ryan, has donated the balance of the contributions to her legal fund to protect the voting rights of more than 50,000 Australians to the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC).
Dr Ryan’s legal fund was crowd-sourced on the evening of 19 May – less than two days before the federal election – to fund a Federal Court challenge to government legislation that would have prevented tens of thousands of voters in isolation with COVID19 from being able to lodge a vote over the phone.
In just four hours, 1361 Australians donated over $126,000 to Dr Ryan’s legal action to protect the voting rights of Australians with COVID19. The Morrison government was informed of the intended legal action in the Federal Court that night; by the next morning, it announced its decision to amend the regulations to allow disenfranchised voters to access telephone voting.
With legal costs amounting to just over $31,000, Dr Ryan subsequently contacted donors to offer them several options for the unspent funds. Hundreds of donors opted to redirect their donation to the Human Rights Law Centre, enabling Dr Ryan to pass on $40,127.25 to fund the work of the HRLC to protect voter rights in Australia.
The HRLC is a highly respected policy and advocacy service that supports individuals and communities to eliminate inequality and injustice in Australia and to protect, defend and strengthen our democratic rights and freedoms.
“The HRLC’s work to protect the voting rights of Australia is to be commended,” Dr Ryan said.
“Their voting rights register enabled Australians to put on the record the obstacles they encountered in trying to exercise their democratic right to vote, and to identify and advocate for solutions to ensure these problems are not repeated. The Human Rights Law Centre is a fearless independent organisation protecting our democratic rights.”
“Our legal challenge complemented the work of the HRLC, and I am very proud that so many who donated to our fund were happy for us to pass on those funds to help the Centre continue their good work,” Dr Ryan concluded.