- General Committee Description
In 2022, the Victorian Environmental Law Student Network (VELSN) will build upon the Climate Emergency and Environmental Crisis Declaration and the Code for Climate and Environmentally Conscious Lawyering, striving to make practical and useful contributions to environmental law and related areas. We will be engaging with our areas of interest through a number of projects — from policy submissions to competitions and more — designed to further VELSN’s primary aim of connecting students with a passion for the environment. VELSN will also focus on continuing its exciting work to expand to other law schools across Victoria.
For more information on VELSN find us on LinkedIn. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
VELSN 2021 Annual General Meeting
VELSN would like to invite all current VELSN members and all others interested to attend the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and take part in the 2021 Elections for next year’s Executive Committee roles (descriptions provided below). The AGM will also provide the opportunity to look back over the past year for VELSN and update members.
VELSN members are eligible to run for any of the positions outlined below, with certain limitations (to maintain affiliation with the University of Melbourne Graduate Student Association (GSA), VELSN membership must be composed of a minimum of 75% Graduate Students from the University of Melbourne).
During the AGM, the Chairperson will call for nominations for each of the positions — any VELSN member can nominate themselves or, with their consent, be nominated by another member.
The election will be conducted online and each position will be decided by simple majority. Before the voting, each candidate may make a short speech in support of their election.
A member unable to attend the AGM may appoint another member as their proxy to vote and speak on their behalf at the AGM. To appoint a proxy, please send through the details to firstname.lastname@example.org NO LATER THAN WEDNESDAY 20 OCTOBER AT 5pm.
Members may also send a short video nominating themselves for the position they wish to hold outlining why they would be great at it. Send the video to email@example.com NO LATER THAN WEDNESDAY 20 OCTOBER BY 5PM.
Committee Position Descriptions
The time commitment expected for the below positions is estimated to be 1–4 hours per week, although this will depend on VELSN’s workload. If you have any questions about the positions outlined below, please contact the current Executive Committee members or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
EXECUTIVE POSITIONS (must be Graduate Students from the University of Melbourne)
The President will oversee the direction of VELSN and the work of the Executive Committee. They will work closely with the Vice President and more generally with all members of the Committee. Primary responsibilities include managing projects, implementing strategic planning for the development of VELSN and the delegation of tasks across the Committee.
The Vice President will work closely with the Committee and President in making organisation decisions and ensuring that projects are running smoothly. They will also work on the overall development of VELSN. The Vice President will often serve as the first point of contact (for both internal MLS bodies and external bodies) and work particularly closely with the President and External Relations Officer in coordinating the outreach and expansion program.
The Secretary will be responsible for working closely with each Executive Committee member to ensure effective communication. They will take minutes at VELSN meetings, organise and update documents and registers, uphold the legal requirements of VELSN’s governing documents and follow up with inquiries into VELSN.
The Treasurer will be responsible for VELSN’s budgeting and finances. This will include working closely with the President and Secretary to ensure proper record keeping and management of payments and reimbursements. The Treasurer will also liaise with the Graduate Student Association on occasion.
Media and Communications Co-opts
This position will involve maintaining our communication platforms including Facebook, Twitter and the VELSN blog with an aim to ensure engagement with the group. This will include the promotion of events and follow-up posts, and the posting of relevant content such as legal developments or case updates. The Media and Communications team will work with the Executive across all projects and especially with the First Year Representative to ensure communication to University of Melbourne cohorts.
The Policy Officer will be the principal lead on VELSN’s policy submission to government or other bodies. The Policy Officer will work closely with the Executive, specifically the President and Vice President, in establishing policy working groups, following policy and legislative updates and co-ordinating final submissions.
External Relations Officers
The External Relations Officer will principally assist VELSN in its expansion to law schools across Victoria. They will work with the Executive in designing and implementing a strategy for statewide expansion. This may involve contacting appropriate representatives from other law schools, compiling expressions of interest and other outreach efforts.
The Competition Officers will lead the organisation of the VELSN Environmental Law Competition. They will work closely with the Executive to finalise the competition question and format (Treaty Negotiation Competition), manage teams and find judges.
Green Impact Officer
The Green Impact Officer will be in charge of updating the activities carried out by VELSN throughout the year on the Green Impact Platform.
First Year Co-Opts
The First-Year Co-Opts will serve as the principal liaison between VELSN and the first-year cohort (2021). They will assist in communicating VELSN events and projects to the first-year cohort through social media and act as a point of contact for any students who may hold an interest in VELSN or environmental law more broadly.
External University Liaison
External Liaisons will be the main point of contact of VELSN at other Universities, assisting the network become ever bigger and stonger! Because we cannot solve the climate emergency or environmental crises alone, but together we can make great and positive change!
The Victorian Environmental Law Student Network (VELSN) is preparing a submission to the NEPC during the review’s 12-week public consultation process, and we want YOU to be involved! If you’re feeling down about Australia’s current environmental agenda, this is a great way to get directly involved in advocating for environmental change!
For more information on the details and importance of the NEPC’s review, check out our post under 'Blog'.
We are planning on hosting two working groups to refine our policy stance, find out what students’ concerns may be around the issue of air quality, and to assist with the research process. Prior knowledge is NOT required, only an interest in environmental policy and public health, as well as enthusiasm to contribute. VELSN team members will be steering the working groups and no preparation will be required.
There will be 2 working groups taking place at Melbourne Law School over the winter break:
Tuesday 9 July 2019
Monday 22 July 2019
Sessions will run from 5:30PM – 8:00PM.
If you would like to get involved, please fill in an expression of interest form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/17f-UfTHkttDHvDoHBWFt2m0cNlRaMrV8fbZrIOm82jE/edit.
Also, follow us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/velsn2016/
This will enable us to keep you in the loop about updates on the review and the working groups sessions. There is no obligation for you to attend either of the working groups at this stage!
We hope to hear from you!
In what could prove to be a landmark case, community group Friends of the Leadbeater's Possum — represented by Environmental Justice Australia — is challenging VicForests in the Federal Court. They challenge VicForests' logging practices in the habitat of the Greater Glider and Leadbeater's Possum — practices which are destroying crucial habitats and placing those species in grave danger of extinction.
This litigation represents a great opportunity to save these animals from extinction. If successful, this case could set a national precedent for changing how forests in Australia are managed and regulated so that they afford greater protection to critically endangered species.
The Court is open to the public to watch proceedings.
The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic) is one of Victoria's main acts focusing on environmental protection. The Victorian Government are currently reviewing the FFG Act. It is quite outdated and not in line with the current scientific understandings of conservation. The VELSN committee has decided it would be great to make a submission. That is where you come in!
We are going to write a submission based on research done in group research sessions. So we will all be together in a room brainstorming and working together. Then the VELSN committee will go away and consolidate the research into a submission. You are welcome to do research outside the group sessions, but that is not required.
For those who have never worked on a policy submission before, knowing the current state of the law is key to making suggestions regarding change. Have a browse of the Act, consultation paper and Environmental Justice Australia’s critique of the current laws. Links to these are below.
The first research session will be on the 16 March, 5:30 to 8pm
Submission due: Tuesday 28 March
Resources to review before the research session --
All Victorian law students are invited to join VELSN's inaugural International Environmental Treaty Negotiation to be held at Melbourne Law School on Saturday 1 October over 5-6 hours.
The negotiation will be focused on creating a treaty for banning microplastics. It is designed to help students appreciate the difficulties of negotiating an international legal instrument, which is one way environmental standards and laws are frequently created.
Participants will represent countries in teams or individually. The task will require some research prior to attending, and a one-page submission containing your allocated country's objectives and interests in creating the instrument is required. The problem — written by the VELSN committee in conjunction with the Victorian Government's Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning — will be released on Wednesday 28 September.
Students of all year levels are encouraged to sign up. No previous understanding of International Environmental Law is required.
** Registration closes at 10:00am on Monday 26 September **
Hope to see you there!
How can the legal system allow us to effectively advocate for the environment and what are the major barriers?
Join us to hear a panel of professionals discuss this question by referring to their own experiences. The panellists will also be talking about their particular area of interest, and how the current legal system enables and restricts their cause
Environmentalism is a concept that unites a wide range of groups and causes. We seek to maintain the multi-faceted nature of the concept by representing a variety of these views on the panel.
We encourage you to come with questions for the panel, and to stick around afterwards to enjoy wine and cheese with the panellists and other law students.
Time: Thursday, 1 September 2016 from 6:30–8 pm
Venue: Room 102, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton. Room: TBC.
Graeme McEwan — Graeme has been a practicing barrister for over 25 years and is also the President of the Barristers Animal Welfare Panel (BAWP), a Bar Association of the Victorian Bar that focuses on law reform and strategic litigation. In the past Graeme been a part-time lecturer at Melbourne Law School teaching Animal Law.
Jo Slater — Jo has been working as a lawyer for Ashurst for over 5 years in the Environment, Energy and Resources area. She is also a volunteer lawyer and member of the executive for Lawyers for Animals, an organisation dedicated to improving the welfare of animals through education and law.
Stephanie Niall — Stephanie is a Research Fellow, sessional lecturer and PhD Candidate at Melbourne Law School. She worked at Ashurst (then Blake Dawson) for several years before completing her Masters of Environmental Management and Climate Policy at Yale University. Stephanie also has management consulting experience working in a leading dedicated sustainability advisory service.
Lee Godden — Lee is the Director of the Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law based at the The University of Melbourne and lectures and co-ordinates subjects in the Juris Doctor and Masters degrees atMelbourne Law School. She has extensive research, writing and teaching experience in the areas of environmental law, natural resources law, water law, and Indigenous people’s land and resource rights. Lee’s considerable contribution to environmental conservation and social justice has been recognised by invited membership of leading national and international environmental organisations.
The recent Panama Papers leak uncovered global tax evasion on a vast scale. But what other structures exist to facilitate such evasions of the law? Join us in exploring these issues by watching The Corporation (2003), a film that asks whether corporations are structurally built to enable tax evasion and circumvent other laws – like the ones protecting environmental systems.
Come over to The University of Melbourne's Parkville campus to meet the VELSN team over some pizza. We are keen to discuss with you news about upcoming events, new positions that are opening up, and how we intend to provide interested law students with networking opportunities in our focus fields.
Time: Wednesday, 11 May 2016 at 5:30 pm
Room: The Arts Hall — Room 222, Level 2, Old Arts Building, The University of Melbourne