Dare to Be Different Forum

Dare to Be Different Forums

Xavier Social Justice Network

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The Xavier Social Justice Network (XSJN) seeks to engage the wider Xavier College community in becoming compassionate and reflective men and women for others who are committed to serving those in need through direct service and through raising awareness about social justice issues.

Our annual Dare To Be Different Forums aim to inform, challenge and inspire our community to engage with, and better understand, the pressing social justice issues of our time.

Forum 1

Guest Speaker: Clare Johnstone.
Clare Johnstone is a lawyer with a passion for justice, both local and global. Her career has taken her to the United Nations office of Amnesty International, New York, to the Victorian Attorney General’s office as a legal adviser, and, for the past 15 years, to working as a criminal defence lawyer with the marginalised in Melbourne. Clare advocates passionately for the disadvantaged in our society believing in the right of every individual to live with dignity and opportunity. 

Interviewed by Margaret Coffey.
Margaret is well known as a broadcaster and journalist, chiefly for ABC Radio National where she produced the long-running Encounter series. She is currently a researcher and volunteer EAL teacher for senior secondary students who have arrived in Australia as refugees and asylum seekers.
 
In this thought-provoking discussion between Margaret and Clare, they address the challenges facing those imprisoned, especially emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the interview, Melbourne was in Stage 4 lockdown with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the audience was challenged to think of those who were in harsh lockdown conditions in our prison systems.
 

Forum 2

Guest Speaker: Ben.
Ben is a young man who is a member of the Jesuit Social Services' Just Voices Speakers Program and here he speaks about his lived experience of imprisonment. 

Interviewed by Nicole Spicer.
Nicole is a Xavier College parent and a member of the XSJN Committee. Nicole has been a lawyer in the criminal defence fraternity for over 20 years with a strong social justice and advocacy focus as well as a teacher in criminal law at Monash University. 

This interview with Ben provides a unique, personal perspective of someone who had experienced both Youth Justice detention and adult imprisonment in Australian prisons.

Forum 3 

Guest Speaker: Sr. Mary O'Shannassy SGS.
Sr Mary, a Sister of the Good Samaritan, is a prison chaplain. She is also responsible for a team of 15 chaplains and over 80 volunteers who work across the entire Victorian prison system. 

Interviewed by Margaret Coffey.
Margaret is well known as a broadcaster and journalist, chiefly for ABC Radio National where she produced the long-running Encounter series. She is currently a researcher and volunteer EAL teacher for senior secondary students who have arrived in Australia as refugees and asylum seekers.

In this third forum for 2020, we are privileged to hear some words of wisdom from Sr. Mary, who reminds us of the human face of prisons. 

Forum 4

Guest Speaker: Patrick Allen
Here is the fourth and final Dare To Be Different interview, featuring Mr Patrick Allen (College Captain, OX 1997), who has previously worked with Jesuit Social Services as a social worker and is now representing young people in the criminal justice system.

Interviewed by Nicole Spicer
Nicole is a current parent at Xavier College and XSJN member, who has over 20 years of experience as a criminal defence lawyer with a strong focus on social justice and advocacy.

Pat and Nicole will discuss some of the issues that many young people in the criminal justice system have endured throughout their lives, including neglect, domestic violence, homelessness, issues within the child protection system, substance abuse and mental health problems. Viewers will receive valuable insight into how these circumstances have impacted the lives of these young people before entering the prison system and how the number of young people remanded in custody has doubled in the last 10 years. Patrick shares with us his hopes for an improved criminal justice system based on therapy and rehabilitation, as well as what structural change may look like.