David Morris, CEO
David is Chief Executive Officer of the Environmental Defenders Office following the EDO merger, which saw the creation of the single regionally focused EDO in 2019. He is responsible for leading the organisation to advance the EDO’s mission of ‘A world where nature thrives’. David oversees the strategic direction of EDO’s public interest environmental law services and is based on Awabakal Land (Newcastle, NSW).
Before being appointed as CEO of the EDO, David previously served from 2017 to 2019 as the CEO of the Environmental Defenders Office NSW. Prior to that David held a range of legal roles in private practice, government, and for nearly 5 years served as the Principal Lawyer of the EDO in the Northern Territory. Highlights of David’s time in the Northern Territory include acting for the Traditional Owners of Watarrka National Park, assisting them to successfully oppose oil and gas exploration within the Park and acting for community members on Garawa, Yanuwa, Mara, and Gurdanji land on a wide range of issues relating to Glencore’s McArthur River Mine.
David has broad environmental law experience, but has had a particular focus on disputes related to mining, gas, and cultural heritage. As a solicitor, David regularly acted for NGOs, community groups, and Aboriginal traditional owners and appeared as solicitor advocate in a variety of court and tribunal proceedings.
David currently serves on the advisory council of the GrataFund and previously held governance roles with the Australian Conservation Foundation as both a Council member and Board Director. In 2016, David received the Law Council of Australia’s Mahla Pearlman Young Australian Environmental Lawyer of the Year Award. David has undertaken a range of leadership training. In 2018 he was selected to participate in the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program, run by the US Department of State and in 2021 was awarded a scholarship to attend the McKinsey Executive Leadership Program.
David received his B.A and LLB from Monash University.
Office of the CEO
The longest serving EDO solicitor in Australia, Jo joined EDO Qld in 1992 after working in company and commercial law with Minter Ellison in Sydney.
For the past 25-plus years, Jo has been dedicated to providing legal advice and education to Queensland communities. She has been instrumental in the reformation of Queensland’s environmental laws, including successfully advocating for expanded third-party enforcement rights. Jo has worked on more than 20 successful test cases concerning Commonwealth and State environmental laws.
As Director of the Queensland office, Jo successfully grew the office from a small government-funded community legal centre to a vibrant and effective public interest law office with 13 staff and diverse funding sources that is now part of a strong merged national EDO.
Jo-Anne graduated from Sydney University in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws.
In 2020 Jo was the recipient of the Queensland Law Society’s Agnes McWhinney Award and the Access to Justice Award
Jacqueline Lapensee is Board Secretariat and Executive Assistant to the CEO.
Our Teams & Programs
Healthy Environment & Justice Program
Nicole Sommer, Director
Nicole is responsible for the strategic direction of the Healthy Environment & Justice Program.
Nicole brings her extensive private practice and government experience to advance a healthy and safe environment. Nicole joined EDO in 2019 as EDO Tasmania’s CEO and Principal Lawyer. Nicole has regularly appeared in Courts & Tribunals in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, and advised community, government and private clients on all aspects of environmental law. Her previous work included as a Senior Associate at Maddocks Lawyers, and formed part of its Climate Change and Sustainability team.
Nicole sits on the Law Council of Australia’s Planning and Environmental Law Group. Nicole holds a Masters of Environmental Management.
The Healthy Environment & Justice Program Management Team
Rana has a lead role in the litigation team in Sydney, supervising litigation and acting in environmental, administrative and other civil enforcement proceedings in Federal and State jurisdictions. She provides legal advice and representation to groups and individuals in seeking to protect their local communities, water sources and biodiversity from the impacts of fossil fuel development.
During her time at the Environmental Defenders Office, Rana has achieved a number of successful outcomes in judicial review for her clients, including the Land and Environment Court, NSW Court of Appeal and the High Court decisions defending the refusal of the Bylong Valley coal mine, NSW Court of Appeal judgment that the Springvale coal mine extension at Newnes Plateau was unlawfully granted, in Federal Court proceedings for the protection of Middle Head in Sydney Harbour for the Headland Preservation Group, and in proceedings on the assessment of proposed land clearing at Kingvale located in one of the northern catchments of the Great Barrier Reef.
Rana also contributes her expertise to the International Program, specifically with our partners in the Solomon Islands. She is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law.
Rana joined the Environmental Defenders Office in October 2013 as an advice and law reform solicitor specialising in legislative protection of the Great Barrier Reef. Prior to this, Rana practised as a solicitor in native title, as well as in private practice in corporate and commercial litigation. Rana holds a Bachelor of Arts (UQ), a Bachelor of Laws (Hons, QUT) in which she was awarded the Freehills prize for first place in property law, and is currently completing a Master of Laws (Sydney).
Elanor joined the EDO in February 2021.Prior to this, Elanor worked as a criminal lawyer for 5 years in Alice Springs for the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission practicing primarily in the area of youth justice. In this role, Elanor advocated for the rights of her clients within the courtroom appearing in the NT Youth Justice and Supreme Courts as well as outside the courtroom through her involvement in the Central Australian Youth Justice Committee and the Ministerial Youth Justice Advisory Committee.
Elanor is excited to back in the environmental legal space, having volunteered for 4 years with EDO Victoria/Environmental Justice Australia and clerking at Earth Justice’s International Office.
Elanor’s role at EDO involves working with First Nations communities on environmental as well as cultural heritage matters. She brings to this role a range of experience working with First Nations communities in the NT as well as through her studies.
Elanor holds a BA from Western University in Canada, an MSc from the University of Oxford (where her dissertation focused on the application of a human rights framework on oil exploration in the Ecuadorian Amazon), a JD from the University of Melbourne and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University. She was admitted in November 2014.
Kirstiana has responsibility for EDO’s northern Queensland work in planning and environment law, legal advice, law reform and community legal education.
Her previous work as a dive master, underwater videographer and deckhand in both Cairns and the Whitsundays enlivened and educated her about environmental issues particular to Northern Queensland and is what led Kirstiana to undertake a law degree at JCU Cairns.
She has worked in private practice since 2009 and is thrilled to now be working for an organisation that aligns with her passion for social justice and the environment.
Revel commenced work with EDO Qld in 2011 and returned in 2014 after taking a year off to complete a masters degree overseas. Prior to working at EDO, Revel worked at Minter Ellison in their planning and environment team, as well as working as a sustainability educator in Mexico. Revel tutors and guest lectures in various subjects, including in planning law, mining and resource law and environment law courses at Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology and University of Queensland.
Revel has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Environmental Management from the University of Queensland, a Masters in Culture and Development Studies from KU Leuven, Belgium and a Graduate Certificate in Policy and Governance from Queensland University of Technology. Revel was recipient of the 2017-2018 Mahla Pearlman Australian Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year award.
Melanie joined EDO as the Managing Lawyer of the ACT Practice in January 2021. Prior to this, Melanie worked at the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office where she advised Victorian government bodies in relation to administrative law, and in particular on planning and environment law. Melanie has previously worked as a refugee lawyer in Australia and overseas, and has gained broad expertise in administrative, environmental, migration, human rights and international law. Melanie has a particular interest in environmental justice and advocating for the recognition of the human right to a healthy environment.
Claire joined the EDO’s Hobart office in 2016 and was appointed the Managing Lawyer in 2020. In addition to overseeing the operations of EDO’s Tasmanian office, Claire provides advice to Tasmanian clients in all aspects of state and federal environment and planning law. She also conducts litigation on behalf of clients in Tasmania’s Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal, the Supreme Court of Tasmania and the Federal Court of Australia.
During her time with EDO, Claire has obtained successful outcomes for a range of clients in relation to cases involving public land management and establishing legal standing.
Claire holds undergraduate degrees in Laws (Hons) and Environmental Science from Griffith University and has over 12 years’ experience as an environmental lawyer in Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria.
Prior to joining EDO, Claire undertook environmental prosecutions and other litigation for the Queensland Government.
Born and bred in Western Australia, Tim graduated in Law with Honours from the University of Notre Dame in 2003 and was awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Management from Murdoch University in 2007. While at law school, Tim received a peacebuilder’s award from the Australian Government for foreign aid work undertaken in East Timor. After graduation, Tim served as Associate to the Late David Malcolm AC, Chief Justice of Western Australia.
Tim has worked in environmental law and policy since 2006, including work for industry in private practice, government work and pro bono work for environmental NGOs and community legal centres. He is a past President of the WA Branch of the National Environmental Law Association. Before commencing at EDO, Tim had a senior legal role with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.
The Healthy Environment & Justice Team
Jasper joined EDO as the National Intake Solicitor in September 2020. His practice focuses on running the national intake program and facilitating access to justice for vulnerable clients nationally.
Jasper holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and a Bachelor of Commerce (with distinction) and was awarded the Students of Law Community Scholarship for his involvement in local ocean conservation programs throughout his studies.
He has contributed to many published articles in various journals in relation to environmental law, property law, property rights and contemporary environmental and social issues.
Justine Emerson is a National Intake Paralegal in the Healthy Environment & Justice Team.
New South Wales
Prior to joining EDO, Natalie worked as an arbitration lawyer in Singapore and as a solicitor in the Sydney Resources group of Ashurst Australia. She has also worked as the research associate to the Hon Justice PM Biscoe of the NSW Land and Environment Court and as an environmental consultant in corporate practice.
Natalie completed a Bachelor of Science (Advanced)/Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney and was admitted as a solicitor in NSW in 2008.
Rachael joined EDO’s Healthy Environment and Justice Program in January 2021. She has over nine years’ experience in environmental law and policy. Rachael also has community organising experience on climate and environmental justice campaigns and is passionate about empowering communities who are seeking environmental justice.
Prior to joining EDO, Rachael worked as a policy lawyer with Environmental Justice Australia. Rachael has also worked as a solicitor to government, the researcher to the Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory, tipstaff to Acting Justice Molesworth at the NSW Land and Environment Court, and an environmental consultant in the private sector.
Rachael holds a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts from the University of Technology, Sydney and a Master of Laws (with Distinction), specialising in environmental law, from the Australian National University. She was admitted as a solicitor in February 2012.
Natalie joined the EDO in May 2021. Prior to joining the EDO, Natalie worked for NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office, where she advised NSW government departments and agencies across a range of practice areas, including in the environmental and natural resources context. She also spent a year working as the Researcher to the NSW Court of Appeal.
Natalie holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons Class I) / Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney and was admitted to practice in 2018. She is passionate about using the law strategically to contribute to long-lasting reform and social change.
Southern & Central Queensland
Mollie has joined the EDO after having previously volunteered as a student whilst completing a Bachelor of Arts/Law at the University of Queensland.
Prior to this, Mollie worked as a Judge's Associate in the Federal Court of Australia, and was a Graduate at the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment. She also has experience in native title, having worked part time at the National Native Title Tribunal whilst completing her studies.
Mollie is a proud Quandamooka woman from Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island).
Maeve is a Solicitor in Southern & Central Queensland for the Healthy Environment & Justice team.
Karen joined EDO in June 2018. She has extensive legal administrative experience, working in the private sector and as a consultant in the legal and technology sectors. Karen has a Juris Doctor from Duke University.
Karen also works in the Systemic Change, Biodiversity team.
Joshua joined EDO’s Healthy Environment and Justice Program in August 2021.
Prior to joining EDO, Joshua practiced as a solicitor in Sydney, working in all areas of litigation including administrative law, civil and commercial litigation, and insolvency. Joshua appeared or instructed in a variety of jurisdictions, including all of New South Wales Courts, including the Land and Environment Court, and the Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
Before being admitted a solicitor, Joshua interned with the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission in Darwin and volunteered with the Aboriginal Legal Service ACT/ NSW, in its Sydney office.
Joshua holds a Bachelor of Political Economics and Social Science from the University of Sydney and Juris Doctor from the University of New South Wales. Joshua is currently undertaking a Master of Laws at the University of Sydney with focus on human rights and environmental law. He was admitted as a solicitor in April 2018.
Roslyn is a Legal Administrator in Tasmania for the Healthy Environment & Justice team.
First Nations Program
Casey Kickett, Director
Casey Kickett is a proud Noongar woman, hailing from the Whadjuk, Yued, Ballardong and Wardandi Noongar Countries. Casey joined EDO in June 2022 as the inaugural Director of the First Nations Program.
Casey holds a Bachelor of Arts and has gone on to complete post-graduate studies with a Graduate Certificate in Adult and Tertiary Education, which led Casey to become an Associate Lecturer within the University of Western Australia’s School of Indigenous Studies. Casey has also studied in the conservation space, and has since worked in Aboriginal cultural heritage and native title within the Western Australian State Government, where she advocated for providing Traditional Owners with the ability to reconnect back to Country and cultural heritage sites which sit within Public Drinking Water Source Areas (PDWSAs) across Western Australia.
Casey cares deeply not only about her own Country, but also about enabling First Nations peoples across Australia and the Torres Strait Islands to be with and care for their Countries, as they see fit. Casey has always worked alongside First Nations communities and peoples, and advocates for First Nations voices to be front and centre of all decisions that impact them.
EDO recognises that a key part of achieving environmental justice in Australia is the central place of First Nations across all facets of the organisation’s work.
EDO aims to support First Nations to protect their Countries, and centre understanding of – and respect for – their perspectives in our work.
To achieve this goal, EDO engaged the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research and Madjulla Inc. to undertake consultancies on the design of a First Nations Program that will work with and advocate for the rights of First Nations in our work.
These consultancies have culminated in final reports which make crucial recommendations for the design and operation of the First Nations Program.
Casey Kickett – Director, First Nations Program – will co-design the First Nations Program with a First Nations Advisory Committee. The internal First Nations Working Group will help to support the Program’s creation and execution.
We look forward to providing updates on the development of this crucial program as it moves forward.
First Nations Strategic Advisory Committee
The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) is seeking to establish a First Nations Strategic Advisory Committee and is looking for people who would like to join.
The Committee is highly respected within EDO. There are six positions. All positions are paid.
Expressions of interest close by the close of business, WST on 17th October 2022 – however, EOIs can be provided at any time. EDO will keep a pool of those interested, and contact you when a place becomes available.
Find out more and apply here.
Systemic Change Program
Elaine Johnson, Director
Elaine joined EDO in January 2011 as a Solicitor in the Sydney office. She provides clients with advice and representation on a wide range of environmental legal issues, including civil enforcement, administrative law, planning, pollution, biodiversity, mining and coal seam gas.
Elaine was the Solicitor on record in the landmark Rocky Hill coal mine litigation, which resulted in refusal of the greenfield mine, and changed the legal landscape on climate law in Australia. She is also acting for bushfire survivors in groundbreaking climate litigation against the NSW Environment Protection Authority. Elaine previously acted for Fullerton Cove residents in obtaining the first coal seam gas injunction in NSW, and represented the Hunter Valley community, including Mrs Wendy Bowman OAM, in the successful appeal halting Ashton Coal’s South East Open Cut mine. Elaine also represented the Mackay Conservation Group in successfully overturning Federal approval of Australia’s largest coal mine, the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin.
Elaine holds a Bachelor of EnvMgmt/LLB (Hons) from Macquarie University and has worked as Associate Lecturer with Macquarie’s Centre for Environmental Law. Her other previous work includes as a solicitor in private practice at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, in government at the Office of Environment and Heritage and as the Environment Liaison Officer for combined environment groups.
Elaine also spent 18 months volunteering with the Landowners’ Advocacy and Legal Support Unit at the Public Solicitor’s Office in the Solomon Islands.
The Systemic Change Management Team
Brendan is the Managing Lawyer of our Safe Climate (Gas) Team and has been a litigator with the EDO since 2015.
He has extensive experience in relation to all aspects of state and federal environment, climate change and planning law, and has conducted environmental litigation within the Federal Court of Australia, Supreme Court of NSW and NSW Land and Environment Court.
Within the Safe Climate (Gas & Corporate) Team, Brendan’s focus is on addressing the impacts of gas developments across Australia on global warming, and utilising corporations and commercial law to hold fossil fuel companies to account in relation to the risks posed by climate change.
Brendan was named Climate Change Lawyer of the Year in Sydney, by Best Lawyers in 2020.
Brendan holds a Bachelor of Law ((1st Class Hon) / Arts in Communications (BA Comms/LLB) from the University of Technology, Sydney, and a Masters of Environmental Governance (MSc) from the University of Freiburg, Germany.
Prior to joining the EDO, Brendan worked as an environmental lawyer at a top tier firm in Sydney for several years.
Julia is the Managing Lawyer responsible for the development and delivery of our Citizen Representation Program (CRP). The CRP provides specialist legal advice and information about the laws that regulate protest activities concerning the environment. In addition, the CRP provides legal representation to those who have been charged with criminal offences arising from their participation in such activities.
Julia is an award-winning legal practitioner and researcher with more than 20 years experience working for criminal law and social justice related academic, government and community-based legal organisations. She joined EDO in April 2019. Prior to that, she worked as a legal practitioner with Legal Aid NSW for many years, where she represented adults and children in every criminal jurisdiction in NSW.
Jemilah joined EDO in Sydney in 2006. As Outreach Director she is responsible for the development and delivery of the EDO Outreach Program, which encompasses both community and professional programs. Community programs include legal workshops, seminars, conferences and a range of plain English publications designed to educate the public about environmental laws and how they can be used to protect the environment. Professional programs include the development and delivery of legal and educational resources for environmental decision-makers, lawyers and other professionals.
Jemilah provides legal advice to the community on a wide range of planning and environmental law problems and has written extensively on topics such as planning, mining and private conservation. She also lectures in planning and environmental law at several universities in Sydney.
Jemilah is admitted as a solicitor in NSW. She has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) from the University of Western Sydney.
Andrew advises and represents clients on a wide range of environmental issues. This has included leading a series of prominent national cases against the port expansion at Abbot Point, and being an integral part of ongoing litigation against the Acland Coal Mine expansion. He has litigated environmental issues in numerous Queensland and Federal jurisdictions including magistrate court prosecutions, enforcement proceedings, planning and mining merits appeals, and reviews in superior courts through to the High Court.
His love of the outdoors has led him to be an environmental specialist, with a career spanning almost two decades in environmental law, science and policy. Before joining the EDO in 2013, Andrew was a senior lawyer with the Queensland Government environment department. His experience includes developing Queensland natural resources policy, advising on UK and European Union law and policy with the UK’s central environment department, and working as a conservation biologist with the Australian Rainforest Conservation Society.
Andrew holds degrees in law and science from Adelaide University.
Kirsty is an experienced climate lawyer and litigator, having been involved in representing and advising clients on a range of environmental law issues. She also has considerable experience in regulatory investigations, prosecutions and civil enforcement cases, particularly in the environmental and consumer law area.
She has recently worked in senior Government enforcement roles, including as the Director of the Water Enforcement Taskforce with the NSW Natural Access Resources Regulator (NRAR), Director of Compliance and Investigations at the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) and Director of Enforcement Group (NSW) for Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
She previously worked as Principal Solicitor at EDO NSW and EDO NQ where she worked on a number of important early climate law cases. She also worked early in her career at the Australian Government Solicitor as well as in Attorney-General’s Department in Samoa and the Public Solicitor’s Office in Solomon Islands.
Kirsty holds degrees in law and arts from the Australian National University.
Having worked for all levels of government and a range of industries on broad ranging environmental issues, Sean brings a broad perspective to assisting the community and public interest. Sean worked for both government and in private consultancy before moving onto a six-year stint in private law practice with Corrs Chambers Westgarth He joined EDO in 2011.
Sean has degrees in both law and environmental science as well as a Masters in Environmental Law from the University of Queensland.
Rachel Walmsley has 20 years’ experience working on public interest environmental policy and law reform.
She has written and presented extensive submissions and discussion papers, and advised governments, parliamentary inquiries and NGOs on a range of environmental law issues including climate policy, natural resource management and biodiversity laws.
Rachel is listed in Best Lawyers Australia in the climate change and environmental & planning law categories. Rachel spearheads national law reform work and coordinates reform work across EDO teams.
She is a member of government and non-government advisory committees on biodiversity, natural resource and environment issues, a legal advisor to the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, legal advisor to the Places You Love alliance on national law reform, and guest lectures in environmental law.
Rachel was a member of the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law (APEEL) and is a member of IUCN – World Commission on Environmental Law. Rachel has also been a Co-Consulting Editor of the Australian Environment Review and Chair of the Australian Committee for IUCN.
Rachel is a practising solicitor, with a Masters in Environmental Science and Law from University of Sydney, a Bachelor of Laws with Honours in international biodiversity law and a Bachelor of Arts from ANU.
The Systemic Change Team
Fleur Ramsay is the Special Counsel for the International Program at EDO in Sydney. The program partners with local organisations to protect the environment and the human rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities in the Pacific. The program also engages with international mechanisms and international law with the aim to ensure that states meet their legal obligations to the environment and to communities.
Fleur is an expert in indigenous rights and international environmental law and is an experienced litigator. She also has expertise in the intersection of human rights and environmental issues.
Fleur graduated with a BA and LLB from Macquarie University and has a LLM from the University of Glasgow, where she studied International Environmental Law and subjects on sustainability and indigenous worldviews and environmental justice. She also has a certificate in Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi Law from the University of Auckland.
Prior to joining EDO in January 2019, Fleur was a visiting international attorney for a year (2016-2017) in the International Group at Earthjustice, a Barrister practicing on Tenth Floor Chambers Selborne/Wentworth in Sydney from 2010 to 2016 and a solicitor in the Environmental Group at Allens/Linklaters from 2005-2009. In 2015 she was a consultant and undertook training for lawyers with the Samoan Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Fleur is currently a PhD candidate at UNSW and has recently taught at UNSW and University of Sydney Law Schools. She is currently studying for the Papua New Guinea Bar.
As well as bringing extensive domestic and international legal experience, Fleur is Samoan and brings a personal understanding of the Pacific.
Sasha Purcell is a human rights lawyer, Fulbright Scholar and completed an LLM at NYU in the United States. She is actively involved in international Indigenous human rights within United Nations mechanisms. She has previously practiced in Police prosecutions (criminal and domestic violence law) and child protection litigation. She is currently a PhD researcher in Indigenous human rights, climate change and international law with a focus on the Pacific Islands. Sasha was recently awarded the 2021 NAIDOC Scholar of the Year.
Bal works with EDO partners in the Pacific to advice clients in relation to environmental cases arising from resource development activities such as mining and logging. Bal specialises in Pacific legal systems with expertise in Papua New Guinea constitutional law.
Prior to joining the EDO, Bal worked as a legal advisor with Comcare and taught as a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Canberra Law School. Bal has also worked as a legal consultant with the United Nations Women in PNG and with the Tuvalu Law Reform Commission.
Bal has a Bachelor of Arts (Politics/International Relations) and Bachelor of Law (Honours) from the University of Canberra, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Sydney College of Law, and a PhD in Law from the Australia National University College of Law. His PhD thesis was awarded the 2020 Hank Nelson Prize for the best PhD thesis internationally on PNG.
His views and articles on Pacific affairs have appeared in leading regional forums. Bal has represented the Pacific in UNLEASH and One Young World, and is a recipient of UK’s Commonwealth Pacific Young Person of the Year Award.
He is admitted in the ACT and is a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Pacific Affairs, Australian National University.
Rohan is a Senior Solicitor for the Pasifika team.
Watna is a solicitor in EDO's International Program. She joined the EDO in 2020.
Previous to this Watna worked with a boutique class actions firm in Sydney, practising in racial discrimination law (with respect to Indigenous peoples), contract law and consumer law.
Watna has experience working in different human rights fields. She has worked in refugee law, representing asylum seekers in the Manus Island and Nauru Regional Processing Centres and in law reform as a legal officer with the Papua New Guinea Constitutional and Law Reform Commission. At the Papua New Guinea Constitutional and Law Reform Commission, Watna completed a terms of reference on mine tailings disposal.
Watna is a Papua New Guinean and contributes regularly to regional discussions.
She graduated from Murdoch University in WA, with a BA and LLB and holds an LLM in Public International Law from the University of Amsterdam for which she wrote a thesis on “Riverine Tailings Disposal in New Guinea: A Breach of the Human Right to Water?”
Watna is interested in the intersection of human rights, land and environmental custodianship.
Legal Education Program
Belinda joined EDO in Sydney in 2011 as a Solicitor in the litigation team, where she represented community groups in public interest environmental law cases, in both federal and State jurisdictions. She is now an Outreach Solicitor working across the Community and Professional programs.
Belinda provides clients with advice on a wide range of environmental legal issues, including planning, pollution, administrative law, mining and coal seam gas.
Belinda holds an LLB (Hons) from University of New England and a Masters in International Environmental Law from Macquarie University. Belinda previously worked in a private practice specialising in local government and planning law and as Associate to Justice Talbot of the Land and Environment Court. She has also worked as a volunteer solicitor at Kingsford Legal Centre.
Belinda’s main area of interest is climate change law, particularly mitigation of sea level rise and carbon pricing.
Belinda is currently on the Management Committee of the Total Environment Centre.
Elise first joined the EDO in 2018 as a volunteer and returned in 2021 as a solicitor in the Legal Education team.
She holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from Macquarie University, a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice and is admitted as a solicitor.
Having worked in government, courts and community organisations, she has experience engaging in environmental law and science from a range of perspectives.
Elise is passionate about empowering communities to connect with and protect their environment by accessing justice and being involved in environmental decision-making.
As a Project Data Tracker, Kate is responsible for identifying and tracking the assessment and approval processes for large fossil fuel projects across Australia. This information is used to support the work of the EDO’s Safe Climate and Healthy Environment Justice teams and provide information to community members and organisations interested in working to ensure a safe climate.
Kate joined the EDO in 2021 after having previously volunteered as a student with the Safe Climate (Coal and Human Rights) team. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons) from Macquarie University. Prior to this, Kate worked with local and state government agencies to advance the sustainable management of Sydney’s urban coastal and estuarine environment.
Cerin joined EDO in Sydney in January 2019 as a Senior Solicitor in the policy and law reform team. Her work includes writing law reform proposals, engaging with government on draft policy and legislation and providing legal advice to EDO clients on a range of environmental issues, including biodiversity conservation, environment and planning and natural resource management.
Previously, Cerin worked as an in-house lawyer for government, for a non-profit human rights organisation in Mongolia and, most recently, as policy and research coordinator with the NSW Nature Conservation Council.
Cerin holds a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) and Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Wollongong.
Emily holds an LLB (Hons)/Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne. She is currently undertaking a Master of Environmental Laws at the University of Sydney.
Prior to joining EDO, Emily worked in a range of legal roles in commercial law and the community sector. Emily also spent 12 months volunteering as a Legal Advisor with the Landowners’ Advocacy and Legal Support Unit at the Public Solicitor’s Office in the Solomon Islands.
Kimberley Hutchinson is a Senior Solicitor in the Biodiversity Team.
Meg joined EDO’s biodiversity team in May 2021, having previously worked in both EDO’s Darwin and NSW offices. She provides legal advice and representation to individuals and community groups on a wide range of matters, with a particular focus on the protection of Australia’s native forests and threatened species.
Prior to joining EDO, Meg worked as a plaintiff lawyer in civil litigation, primarily representing individuals suffering from asbestos related diseases. She has published articles on animal and environmental law and is currently a volunteer lawyer and director with the Animal Law Institute.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts with Bachelor of Laws from Macquarie University and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the Australian National University.
Lauren Bicknell is a Legal Administrator in the Biodiversity Team.
Huw joined the EDO in April 2021 and is a member of the EDO's Freshwater team. Huw is based in Sydney and is passionate about the protection of the environment and the need for continued law reform to protect Australia's water resources.
Prior to joining the EDO, Huw worked with Norton Rose Fulbright's environment & planning team supporting a variety of government and private clients in the areas of environment and planning litigation, water law, compulsory acquisition, administrative law, contamination and native title.
Huw was admitted to legal practice in 2018 and holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Newcastle and a Bachelor of Arts (history) (Honours) from Sydney University.
Nadja joined EDO NSW in 2018 and is a member of EDO’s Freshwater team. Nadja is based in Melbourne and has a particular interest in water law and natural resources management and in Aboriginal cultural heritage protection.
Nadja advises and represents a broad range of clients including farmers, community groups, conservation groups and Traditional Owners in local and national public interest water law related matters, with a focus on the Murray Darling Basin.
Nadja has previously worked as a plaintiff lawyer at Slater and Gordon, in commercial litigation, representing individuals against large corporations and in administrative and tort law, including negligence and nuisance. Nadja was admitted to legal practice in 2018 and holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne.
Safe Climate (Coal & Human Rights)
Matt is a Special Counsel advising on environmental, planning, climate change and administrative law at EDO. He has practised environmental and planning law in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales and has worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, Clayton Utz and Corrs Chambers Westgarth. He holds undergraduate degrees in law and economics and master's degrees in law and public administration.
Since joining EDO, Matt has had carriage of several groundbreaking cases, including the Rocky Hill climate change litigation, the Bushfire Survivors climate action, the KEPCO Bylong climate action and major water litigation involving the upper Murray-Darling Basin. He has conducted litigation in the High Court, Federal Court, NSW Court of Appeal, NSW Land and Environment Court, Queensland Planning and Environment Court, and South Australian Supreme Court. In 2022, he received the Mahla Pearlman AO Award for Australian Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year.
Passionate about community, Matt has led Out for Australia Victoria, the Australian Law Students’ Association and his university law society. He currently serves as National President of the National Environmental Law Association and National Vice-President of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association.
Alison advises on the legal aspects of environmental assessment and compliance of major energy and resources projects for EDO Qld.She brings more than ten years’ experience in community engagement, research and providing long-term equitable solutions working in law firms, non-government organisations and education. Her diverse experience brings a broad commercial and community perspective to her role.
Alison holds a Juris Doctor (With Distinction) from the University of Southern Queensland and a Bachelor of Arts from Charles Sturt University.
Anita is a Solicitor in the Safe Climate team.
Bri came to EDO in 2019 as an undergraduate with a background in community organising for youth and climate justice spaces and volunteering in pro bono services across refugee law, human rights law and environment law.
Bri graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Laws/Arts (Hons I) in 2020 and was admitted to practise shortly thereafter. Her continuing commitment is to her clients' empowerment to protect the people and places they love.
Jayme first came to EDO as a student volunteer in 2019 and returned in 2020 to complete their PLT.
In 2021, Jayme joined EDO's Safe Climate (Coal & Human Rights) team as a Solicitor after working for the Department of Environment and Science on Queensland's largest criminal prosecution for causing serious environmental harm.
Previously, Jayme interned at the:
• Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, assisting on a review of the joint management of Commonwealth National Parks;
• Federal Circuit Court of Australia; and
• with the Human Rights Act for Queensland campaign, which achieved the enactment of the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld).
Committed to achieving environmental justice for the community and EDO’s clients, Jayme is particularly passionate about using the law to address climate change.
Jayme graduated from the Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and was admitted to practise law in 2021.
Safe Climate (Corporate & Commercial)
Anna joined the EDO’s Safe Climate (Corporate & Commercial) team in September 2020. She has over 5 years as a litigator acting for insurance companies and their insureds, primarily in the professional indemnity financial lines area.
Most recently prior to joining the EDO, Anna was a Senior Associate at the insurance boutique litigation firm Gilchrist Connell. Prior to that, Anna worked for a number of boutique insurance, national and international firms including Norton Rose Fulbright, and has advised on large and complex insurance and commercial disputes matters including class actions.
Anna has also worked at the NSW Crown Solicitor’s office and as a legal intern at the UN World Food Programme. Anna holds a Masters of Commerce/Laws from the University of Sydney and is currently undertaking a Masters of International Development Studies at the University of Portsmouth in the UK.
Anna is passionate about using corporations law to change private sector behaviour on climate change, and comments on relevant issues on her website.
Zoe joined the EDO’s Safe Climate team in August 2020. She is a John Monash Scholar, and holds a Master of Laws from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours, both from the University of Western Australia (UWA). Prior to joining the EDO, Zoe worked as a Fellow at Law for Black Lives in the US, and as Assistant to Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw on the Say Her Name campaign, which highlights police brutality against Black women and girls in the US.
Following graduation from UWA, Zoe served as Associate to Justice Barker of the Federal Court of Australia, and then worked as a solicitor at the State Solicitor’s Office of Western Australia (SSO). During her time at the SSO, Zoe was instructing solicitor on two successful appeals to the High Court of Australia in Commissioner of State Revenue v Placer Dome Inc.  HCA 59, and Commissioner of State Revenue v Rojoda Pty Ltd  HCA 7. She regularly appeared as trial and appellate counsel for government departments and agencies in a broad range of court proceedings, including administrative law, corporations law, and civil litigation.
Zoe’s criminal justice reforms in relation to First Nations peoples with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders have been adopted by a Senate Standing Committee, published in peer reviewed journals, and presented at international conferences. She is also a lecturer and tutor at UWA Law School.
Clare is a Solicitor in the Safe Climate team.
Sel is a Legal Administrator in the Safe Climate team.
Safe Climate (Gas)
Alina Leikin is Special Counsel in the Safe Climate (Gas & Corporate) Team.
Clare holds a Master of Laws from Melbourne University, and a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours, both from the University of Western Australia).
Prior to joining EDO’s safe climate team she was the Legal Director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity in the United States. Her litigation work in that role focused on resisting fossil fuel production, particularly in California, and federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. At the Center she gained extensive experience litigating at trial and appellate level in California state and federal courts, including the D.C. Circuit.
She began her legal career at the State Solicitor’s Office in Western Australia, where she represented a variety of government departments and agencies in a broad range of trial, appellate and tribunal proceedings.
Jordina Rust is a Senior Solicitor in the Safe Climate (Gas & Corporate) Team.
Ruby began at EDO as a law graduate and was admitted to practice in December 2018. Ruby’s work as a solicitor at EDO has comprised advice and representation on a broad range of matters, including litigation and merits appeals on environmental issues in WA such as uranium mining, forestry and greenhouse gas emissions.
Ruby has worked externally as a legislation consultant, drafting private members bills currently before the WA Parliament. She is also an executive member of the National Environmental Law Association (WA Chapter) Committee. Ruby holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia.
Sarah Shin is a Solicitor in the Safe Climate (Gas & Corporate) Team.
Amanda Peng is Legal Administrator in the Safe Climate (Gas & Corporate) Team.
Science & Expert Advisory Program
Megan Kessler, Director
Megan joined EDO in Sydney in August 2011. Her role involves management of EDO’s Scientific Advisory Service, including the provision of in-house objective scientific advice to EDO staff and our clients and using our Expert Register to source external scientific expertise for public interest legal matters.
Megan has a Bachelor of Science (natural resource management) from Macquarie University, a Master of Marine Science (fisheries management) from UNSW and a PhD on tourism impacts on humpback whales off Sydney and in Tonga from Macquarie University.
Megan has previously worked with Landcare Australia and on marine and fisheries issues, energy conservation and threatened species management.
The Science & Expert Advisory Team
Ed joined EDO in January 2022, based out of Hobart. He has BSc(Hons) and PhD in marine chemistry from the University of Melbourne and completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Atlantic Regional Laboratory (NRCC) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and at CSIRO Division of Oceanography in Hobart.
Ed has more than 35 years as, variously, environmental chemist, chemical oceanographer and estuarine biogeochemist. Much of this time was as a research scientist with CSIRO (Hobart Marine Laboratories) with applications to oceanic studies from Antarctica to equatorial waters, and he has also led diverse investigations of Australian estuarine and coastal systems, often with a goal of industries operating compatibly and sustainably in these environments.
In a latter seven-year stint, Ed was Science Leader – NT at the Australian Institute of Marine Science’s facility in Darwin, where the focus was on framing interdisciplinary science to support multiple-use management of coastal waterways in northern Australia.
Karen joined EDO in Cairns in January 2020 to support the Scientific Director by developing scientific advice for EDO staff and our clients and using our Expert Register to source external scientific expertise for public interest legal matters. Karen has a Bachelor of Science (Physics) and Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering (Honours) from University of New South Wales, a Master of Biological Science from Australian National University.
Karen has previously worked for the Australian Government Department of Environment in the Marine Species Conservation section. This section was responsible for the domestic implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) for marine species.
Since leaving the APS in 2013, Karen has worked primarily on science and policy matters concerning curbing the illegal wildlife trade throughout Asia and Africa.
Margaret joined EDO’s Scientific Advisory Service in October 2021. She is passionate about protecting water resources, with over 20 years of experience working on surface and groundwater projects in academia and consulting. The focus of her work has varied from community water supply and protection to understanding the impacts of unconventional gas production on water resources and the hydrology of rivers that dry up.
She has a Bachelor of Arts (environmental science) from Northwestern University, and a Master of Hydrology and PhD in Hydrogeology from University of Nevada Reno.
Finance & Operations
Blake Powell, Director
Blake joined EDO in April 2016. As Director of Finance and Operations, she is responsible for the effective management of the operational aspects of the organisation, including governance, financial management, compliance, administration, human resources and provision of information and support to the CEO and Board.
Prior to working with EDO, Blake was Business Operations Manager for Migration Support Programs, NSW, at Australian Red Cross. She also worked with PYXERA Global managing multi-million dollar international programs in Guatemala, Jamaica and Angola on supply chain development and the reinvestment of profits from natural resource extraction into community and local economic development.
Blake holds an MA in International Service and Development from Roehampton University, UK, and an MA in Theoretical Linguistics from Northwestern University, USA.
Finance & Operations Team
Catheryn comes to EDO with over 15 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector in both the UK and Australia, and has previously worked for Australian Red Cross, The Smith Family, and Relationships Australia in a variety of operational and managerial roles.
Catheryn has a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish from the University of Hull, UK and an MA in Refugee Studies and Human Rights from City University, London.
Eamon is the IT Manager in the Finance & Operations team.
Fundraising, Marketing & Communications
Aaron Lamb, Director
Aaron is responsible for the strategic direction and execution of fundraising, marketing and communications across the universe of channels and platforms at EDO.
Aaron is a two-time Fundraising Institute of Australia award winner, with a broad range of experience in working in NFPs from Oxfam and Vinnies to animal welfare. Aaron has spoken extensively on digital marketing and fundraising and brand communications in a crisis. He has also sat on the board of directors for Cambodian Kids Can.
Mhairi brings more than two decades of communications, campaigns and media experience to EDO. Mhairi began her career as a news journalist at BBC Scotland. In 2006, she joined ABC news, spending time reporting in regional NSW before settling in Sydney, where she produced radio news bulletins and was responsible for online news coverage in NSW, as well as digital training for broadcast journalists.
Since leaving journalism in 2015, Mhairi has worked on several high-profile environmental campaigns. She also worked with a number of private clients assisting with social media marketing, SEO, public relations and political advocacy. She joined EDO in 2019.
Tom has worked in data-driven digital strategy, digital product management and data analysis over the past decade. Bringing experience from the online publishing industry and the NFP sector, Tom leads the Fundraising, Marketing & Communications team’s data strategy and provides supporter engagement data analysis and management.
Annemarie Kohn is Head of Philanthropy for the Fundraising, Marketing and Communications Team.
The Fundraising, Marketing & Communications Team
Marketing & Media Team
Jacki has 14 years’ experience working with environmental non-profits in Australia at local, state, national and international level. She has managed and driven digital marketing, communications and fundraising on many high profile environmental campaigns. She has helped several organisations significantly grow through bringing in new supporters and developing donor care and fundraising strategies. Jacki is passionate about EDO and helping it grow through supporter growth and donor care strategies.
Jacki has a Bachelor of Marine Studies (Honours) from The University of Queensland and is studying a Masters in Conservation Biology.