Sitting AAT member elected to Melbourne University Alumni Council

With 20 years of professional legal experience spanning commercial law, the Australian Public Service (APS) and her current role as a full time member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), Justine Clarke (BA(Hons) 1998, LLB 1998) brings an impressive diversity of experience to her new role on the Melbourne University Alumni Council.

Justine Clarke

Members of the Melbourne University Alumni Council meet every two months to represent the interests of the alumni community and facilitate engagement between the University and its graduates. Justine was elected along with fellow MLS alumna Julia Hicks (BPD(PC)(Hons) 2002, GDipConstrLaw 2012).  

When Justine learned of her election onto the Alumni Council, she was “genuinely shocked.”

“My social media campaign had been somewhat amateur —basically it was a call out to friends on Facebook,” she says.

While her election came as a surprise to her, it wasn’t for others in the alumni community, many of whom have worked with Justine and campaigned for her.

“I mentioned it to alumni friends when I saw them and I know that some were very good campaigners on my behalf. One friend who was working at the Ian Potter Museum of Art thinks that she encouraged a large number of people to vote for me there.”

The path to Justine’s election began when she returned to Melbourne after 11 years interstate and received an email calling for Council nominations.

“I saw the email calling for nominations and thought the Alumni Council would be a great body to be involved with. I confess that I did not know much about the Alumni Council at the time, but I was keen to learn more.”

Justine was motivated to apply because of the support she had received from University of Melbourne alumni over the last 20 years.

With work experience spanning commercial law, the APS, a Federal Court Associateship and currently, decision-writing with the AAT, Justine has come across University of Melbourne alumni both in Melbourne and beyond.

“When I lived in Canberra and Sydney, I was mindful of the importance of professional and social networks to my workplace success and personal happiness. When I met other alumni in those cities they were incredibly generous and helpful to me,” she says.

Justine believes that alumni have a lot to offer each other, as well as their alma mater.

“I am aware of the important role that alumni make in broader civil society so I think that it is important that alumni have a voice within the University operations as well. This should also serve the University well because alumni can be real ambassadors for the university.”

Recently stepping into her new role, Justine says the response to her election – from colleagues and new acquaintances alike – has reminded her of the strength of the University of Melbourne alumni community.

“The election period and announcement of results really reminded me of just how broad the University of Melbourne alumni base is. A number of current work colleagues noted that I was running and I received congratulatory emails and messages from many friends and former colleagues.”

By Blake Connell