Basic Rights Queensland: Who We Are

BRQ is a state-wide community legal centre, providing advice, advocacy and free legal services. We help people having problems with Centrelink or disability discrimination, and women in the workplace.

Our Values

Fairness

We act with integrity, ensuring our resources are targeted equitably while prioritising the most vulnerable.

Access

We are committed to enabling access to justice through innovative service provision and making the complex comprehensible.

Inclusion

We are non-judgemental and we embrace diversity. 

Transparency

We are accountable for our actions, to maintain the trust of our clients, funders and the wider community.

Respect

We respond to all who need our assistance with compassion and understanding, maintaining a non-judgemental perspective.

Responsiveness

We provide our clients with an objective assessment of their situation while being empathic to the difficulties and challenges of their situation.

Expertise

Through continually developing our in-depth knowledge of complex areas of law, we provide expert, evidence-based advice to our clients.

Our Vision

Basic rights for a just society

Our Purpose

  • Providing high quality, independent advice, legal services and community education
  • Upholding rights to social security entitlements, freedom from discrimination and social justice in the workplace
  • Advocating fair and just outcomes for vulnerable people

Our Strategic Priorities

  • Organisational sustainability and responsiveness
  • Leaders in social security, disability discrimination and employment rights
  • Effective stakeholder relationships
  • Recognised service excellence

In 2018 Basic Rights Qld merged with Working Women Qld.

We are committed to providing advice, referral and industrial advocacy to women experiencing issues in their work.
Working Women Qld continues to be affiliated with a part of the National Working Women’s Centres network who promote the status of working women and advocate for gender equality in Australian workplaces.

Our History

BRQ has been operating for over thirty years with the support of volunteers, sponsors, donors and pro-bono assistance.

In 1984 Professor Edna Chamberlain and (now Professor) Mr Bill De Maria, conducted research to determine the advantages of having a supporting advocate for those people appealing Social Security decisions to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal.

Their findings indicated that there was a significant increase in successful outcomes when Appellants were assisted at hearings by independent advocates.

Based on this research, the Welfare Rights Centre was established and a small group of volunteers were trained and began working on behalf of Social Security clients who were dissatisfied with decisions made by the Department.

Our Funding

BRQ is a registered charity, primarily funded by the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General and Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, through the Community Legal Services Program.

BRQ is supported by sponsorship, cash donations and in-kind donations such as pro-bono legal assistance.

We apply for one-off grants whenever possible, for projects or essential equipment.

Find out about how to support the work of BRQ. Donations of over $2.00 are tax deductible.

BRQ is an Incorporated Association, governed by a voluntary Management Committee, elected from the membership, while paid staff and volunteers carry out the day-to-day activities.

Our People

BRQ’s team of eleven full-time-equivalent workers has expertise in social security and discrimination law, social work, psychology, administration and financial administration.

Management Committee members:

  • Lurline Comerford, President
  • Cale Fryer, Secretary
  • Stuart McDowall, Treasurer
  • Jessie Westaway, Member
  • Neisha Traill, Member
  • Wylie Thorpe, Member
  • Lyndal Sleep, Member

Staff members

  • Fiona Hunt – Director
  • Steve Irvine – Principal Solicitor
  • Andrew Davison – Senior Solicitor
  • Teresa Grahame – Senior Social Worker
  • Deidre Ross – Administration Manager
  • Ellia Guy – Administration Assistant
  • ‘Sam’ Simon Tracy – Solicitor
  • Caitlin Collins – Social Worker
  • Terri Kempton – Solicitor
  • Maddison Dantu-Hann – Law Clerk
  • Mark McKeon – Finance Administrator
  • Lee Matahare – Senior Industrial Advocate
  • Jayne Carter – Industrial Advocate
  • Isabella Morosan – Industrial Advocate
  • Jen Carmen – Industrial Advocate

Volunteers

Volunteers make an invaluable contribution to the work of BRQ. Our volunteers assist with intake, administration, telephone advice, case work and project work.

Many of our volunteers are students for whom volunteering provides opportunities to learn and to develop essential professional skills, such as client interviewing, record keeping and research.

Interested in volunteering? We’d love to hear from you. Find out more about our volunteer program here.