PIAC staff, Directors, secondees and volunteers from across PIAC’s history last night gathered at the Arthouse Hotel to celebrate PIAC’s 30th birthday.
The contribution of volunteers, board members, staff and supporters over three decades was acknowledged in speeches by current CEO, Edward Santow, and long-time former CEO, Andrea Durbach.
‘PIAC has achieved an enormous amount of good especially for people who are very vulnerable to having their fundamental rights infringed. I’m very confident PIAC will continue to survive and thrive over the next 30 years, and I have this confidence because of all of you.’ Edward Santow said.
Andrea Durbach, who was a key leader within PIAC for 13 years, spoke of the ‘extraordinary achievements and victories over 30 exacting years of this gutsy little legal Centre”‘.
‘To honour PIAC’s extensive and valuable collection of ground-breaking and boat-rocking submissions and reports; its judgments and precedents in the public interest (mostly to savour, a few to disown); its training programs for transformation; its strategic alliances with power and the powerless is to pay tribute to a formidable and visible legacy,’ Prof Durbach said.
Prof Durbach ended with a quotation from the first President of the South African Constitutional Court, the late Arthur Chaskelson, in his speech to a similar PIAC event 13 years ago:
‘Everywhere the best talents of the legal profession are sought to be drawn into the service of the rich and powerful. In most countries it is left to small groups of lawyers and policy workers such as PIAC, and individuals within the profession, to provide the counterweight by devoting themselves to the problems of poor or marginalised communities. In doing so they serve not only those communities, but the legal profession as a whole. They are the conscience of the profession, they give effect to its ideals and they deserve the active support and encouragement of us all.’
Photo: Professor Peter Cashman (PIAC Chair) and Annette O’Neill (former Chair).