Where did you grow up?
I grew up and went to school and university in Queensland.
How did you get to your current job position?
I got my current job after completing the graduate program at the Attorney-General’s Department down in Canberra in 2019. In 2020, I relocated back to Queensland where I’m originally from to take up a 12-month opportunity with the Royal Commission in Brisbane. I’m very grateful for the flexibility and opportunities that have been provided to me by the Attorney-General’s Department in allowing me to pursue my new role. I’ve actually only just finished my first week with the Royal Commission!
What was your interview process like?
I had an interview with the Director and Assistant Director of the Submissions Team which was facilitated by videoconference while I was still down in Canberra. During this interview, I was asked specific questions about the transferable skills I had developed during my time at the Attorney-General’s Department and how I could apply these to the work of the Royal Commission. Due to the sensitive nature of the material that the Royal Commission deals with, I also had an over the phone interview with a psychologist following this.
What does your employer do?
A Royal Commission is an investigation, independent of government, into a matter of great importance. The Disability Royal Commission was established in April 2019 in response to community concern about widespread reports of violence against, and the neglect, abuse and exploitation of, people with disability. The Disability Royal Commission will investigate:
The Royal Commission will deliver a final report to the Australian Government by 29 April 2022. In this report, the Royal Commission will recommend how to improve laws, policies, structures and practices to ensure a more inclusive and just society.
What are your areas of responsibility?
The Submissions team is primarily responsible for processing and triaging submissions coming into the Commission, including making referrals where necessary. The team also deals with the engagement of key stakeholders such as peak bodies, advocacy groups and service providers. This engagement takes place in a variety of contexts such as community forums.
Can you describe a typical workday?
Although I don’t have too many typical workdays to draw upon just yet – a typical workday for me so far goes as follows. When I first get into the office I’ll go through my emails and ensure I’m keeping track of any developments such as the current Royal Commission Hearings in Sydney. Then I’ll touch base with my supervisor and we’ll establish my priorities for the day, which usually involves processing and responding to a variety of submissions. This is a fairly nuanced process, as each submission is entirely different and could contain sensitive material which may require referral to legal or support services. The last thing I worked on was responding to a range of submissions which provided detailed recommendations on reforming health care systems to be more accommodating towards people with a disability.
What are the career prospects with your job?
Given the finite nature of Royal Commissions, a lot of people tend to go back to their previous area of expertise after the work of the Royal Commission has been concluded. I’m hopeful that my experience working for the Royal Commission will enable me to return to a role in government policy with a more holistic understanding of the systemic issues people face on a daily basis.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Absolutely! My team is multidisciplinary and comprised of people with all sorts of backgrounds in the public and private sector. People in my team have experience in areas such as operational management, public policy, legal services and some have even worked for previous Royal Commissions!
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
That’s a tough one! I think if I pursued a career outside of government I’d consider becoming a teacher – both my parents are currently teachers!
What do you love the most about your job?
I love getting out of bed of the morning knowing I have the opportunity to work towards implementing systemic positive change in people’s lives. My favourite task is responding to the submissions we receive and thanking people for sharing their experiences and recommendations with the Royal Commission.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?